BAT Malaysia launches 'Stop the Black Market' bus

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KUALA LUMPUR (Oct 3): British American Tobacco (Malaysia) Bhd (BAT Malaysia) has launched the “Stop the Black Market” bus as part of its plan to engage Malaysians and draw attention to the seriousness of the black market.

In a statement Oct 1, BAT Malaysia said the bus will travel to various locations throughout the Klang Valley from now to December.

BAT Malaysia managing director Jonathan Reed said the “Stop the Black Market” bus will cast a spotlight on a severe problem impacting Malaysia’s economic growth.

He said this issue had been neglected for too long, adding that the tobacco black market alone causes Malaysia to lose RM5.3 billion annually in uncollected taxes.

“This black market is not just an industry issue. It affects all Malaysians directly and indirectly.

“Valued at RM300 billion, this invisible economy funds crime, fuels corruption and hampers economic growth at a time when it is desperately needed.”

Reed said the problem is not getting better despite greater enforcement efforts this year.

He said the recently released Illicit Cigarettes Study conducted by Nielsen revealed that illegal cigarette trade in Malaysia actually increased over the past months to 62% of the total market in July.

“Given the current economic environment, there is fear that the tobacco black market will continue to grow. Urgent policy interventions must be put in place to stop the tobacco black market.

“The government needs to look at measures beyond enforcement alone to be able to effectively address this issue,” he said.