KUALA LUMPUR: The sale of contraband alcohol is like corruption and should be wiped out as it has cost the Government RM84mil in revenue losses from middle of last year to middle of this year, said Malaysian International Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MICCI).
MICCI executive director Stewart Forbes said the Government should work together with the food and beverage industry to clamp down on contraband alcohol sold at various outlets in the country.
“The smuggling of beer and illicit products is not a small issue anymore.
“Smuggling of beer by the container loads is organised crime, and in many cases, probably emanating outside of Malaysia,” he added.
Sid’s Pubs Group owner Geoff Siddle said there were instances of outlets switching from premium and high quality products to lower quality and cheap brands just to compete with the contraband market, and this had also posed health risks for those consuming the alcohol.
Despite knowing the health risks, consumers may still opt for contraband alcohol as it is 25% to 40% cheaper than locally-produced beer.
Guinness Anchor Berhad (GAB) managing director Hans Essaadi said further tax burden on consumers, such as the Goods and Services Tax (GST), to be introduced next year, might drive consumer demand for contraband products.
However, he commended the efforts by the Royal Customs Department and Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission to raid businesses suspected of selling contraband alcohol.
“We have witnessed favourable results from the raids. The raids have resulted in lower accessibility to contraband products,” he added.