PETALING JAYA: A whopping 530,000 litres or RM4.29mil of contraband beer and liquor, have been pulled off the shelves in Selangor stores, as the Royal Malaysian Customs Department moves to cripple Malaysia’s illicit alcohol market.
Customs officers estimate it would have cost the Government RM16.58mil worth of taxes this year.
Selangor Customs director Datuk Badaruddin Mohamed Rafik said officers have raided 345 stores this year as part of its ongoing anti-contraband Ops Outlet which began in 2010.
Besides that, Customs also raided 24 other cases of contraband alcohol found in containers, bonded trucks and warehouses.
Officers would check the stamps on the alcohol bottles to ascertain if it had made it to the shelves through legitimate means or had been smuggled in.
A total of 533,274 litres of alcohol were seized over the past 12 months – enough to fill nearly two standard size swimming pools.
“We have arrested 111 suspects and out of that number, 96 were compounded, with a total value of RM200,765.90,” Badaruddin said in a statement.
“Disrupting criminal trade is at the heart of our strategy to clampdown on the illicit alcohol market, which costs the Government millions of ringgit every year.
“This is a theft from the taxpayers and undermines legitimate traders.
“We strive to enhance our enforcement through joint collaboration with the Confederation of Malaysian Tobacco Manufacturers and the Confederation of Malaysi-an Brewers Berhad (CMBB) as well as with other enforcement agencies.”
Asked what happened to the seized alcohol, a Customs officer said the booze has been “disposed of”.
The state Customs created a joint task force with CMBB in January 2015, in a bid to curb the supply of contraband alcohol in Selangor.