BAT Malaysia sees Budget 2021 announcement as first step to tackle tobacco black market

Linda Kumar
·2-min read
BAT Malaysia commended Finance Minister Datuk Seri Tengku Zafrul's maiden Budget speech and called these measures ‘the first step to disrupting the supply of illegal cigarettes in Malaysia.’ — Reuters pic
BAT Malaysia commended Finance Minister Datuk Seri Tengku Zafrul's maiden Budget speech and called these measures ‘the first step to disrupting the supply of illegal cigarettes in Malaysia.’ — Reuters pic

KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 6 ― British American Tobacco (Malaysia) Berhad (BAT Malaysia) welcomes the government's announcement in Budget 2021 today on measures to stop the tobacco black market.

The company commended Finance Minister Datuk Seri Tengku Zafrul Abdul Aziz's maiden Budget speech and called these measures "the first step to disrupting the supply of illegal cigarettes in Malaysia."

BAT Malaysia, in a statement, also highlighted that the "government’s move is both timely and necessary as Malaysia is currently the No. 1 in the world for illegal cigarettes, which take up 65 per cent of the total market."

"We are thankful to the finance minister and the Malaysian government for acknowledging the severity of the tobacco black market and taking a bold step towards addressing this issue,” said Jonathan Reed, managing director of BAT Malaysia.

“High taxes on legitimate cigarettes have created a huge demand for cheap, illegal cigarettes. The tobacco black market not only causes the loss of billions of ringgit in uncollected tax, it also funds crime, fuels corruption and drives the youth smoking rate.

“Moving forward, measures to enhance enforcement must be accompanied by excise reforms to really make an impact on the tobacco black market. The price gap between legal and illegal products is currently far too wide, creating a situation that enforcement alone cannot address.”

“Ultimately, we believe Malaysian consumers want to do the right thing. If given a viable opportunity to choose a legal alternative at a reasonable price, most would prefer not to put money in the hands of criminals.”

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