THE Confederation of Malaysian Tobacco Manufacturers (CMTM) refutes suggestions that the largest drop in the history of illegal cigarettes in Malaysia of 6.6% from 38.9% in 2013 to 32.3%, as recorded by the Illicit Cigarette Study (ICS) 2014 by Nielsen, was due to the deployment of SICPA products on cigarette packs in Malaysia.
CMTM feels that the recent large decline can be attributed to the concerted and enhanced efforts by enforcement agencies, primarily the Royal Malaysian Customs.
Referring to recent media reports quoting security marking supplier SICPA, CMTM views with serious concern the impression created by SICPA that its products, namely the use of security ink marking on locally manufactured cigarette packaging and tax stamps on imported cigarettes, led to the said drop.
The nature of illegal cigarettes in Malaysia is such that they are wholly smuggled into Malaysia from other countries without any required security markings.
To suggest directly or indirectly that the sharp decline recorded in the ICS 2014 statistics was caused by the deployment of SICPA products, in our view, is inaccurate and does not provide the complete picture of the situation since 2004, when it was introduced.
The decline highlighted by SICPA in 2014 can be attributed to the strong enforcement efforts of the Customs Department operations such as Ops Pacak and Ops Outlet and had little to do with the security ink marking or tax stamps on cigarettes.
Through such anti-illegal cigarette trade operations, Customs Department has made significant progress in addressing the demand for illegal cigarettes by arresting and remanding retailers of illegal cigarette, including penalising them with deterrent sentences that led to the increasing pressure on illegal cigarette trading.
CONFEDERATION OF MALAYSIAN TOBACCO MANUFACTURERS
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