BAT Malaysia lauds enforcement efforts in curbing illegal tobacco smuggling

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KUALA LUMPUR (July 10): British American Tobacco (M) Bhd (BAT Malaysia) has lauded the intensive operations by the Federal Internal Security and Public Order Department against smuggling activities.

In a statement today, BAT Malaysia managing director Erik Stoel said that following the identification of four syndicates whose main contraband consists of smuggled cigarettes, the company hopes the police continue to apply pressure, and deal a swift and crippling blow to these criminals who have blatantly disregarded the 'rule of law' and funded a culture of organised corruption in the country.

Stoel's statement comes on the back of the findings of a recently published report by research and analyst firm Oxford Economics on the broader impact of the illicit tobacco trade in Malaysia.

The report highlighted that since this black economy gained a foothold, the country's GDP, economy, public health agenda, reputation and legal employment opportunities have been undermined.

Stoel added that BAT Malaysia had constantly appealed for serious action to be taken.

"This issue can no longer be ignored and it requires a cross government action plan to effectively tackle this problem.

"All key ministries and agencies have a role to play: The Ministry of Health's Tobacco Control Sector, the Ministry of Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs, the Ministry of Home Affairs, the Central Bank, the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission and the National Financial Crime Centre need to lend their expertise and jointly support the ongoing efforts of law enforcement agencies.

"We are very willing to provide our full support to the government effort to curtail this menace — our extensive international experience tells us that a joint collaboration between the private and public sector can work," he said.

At 10.39am, shares of BAT Malaysia dipped 1.22% or 36 sen to RM29.08 for a market capitalisation of RM8.3 billion.