EXCLUSIVE: PETALING JAYA: The Customs Department can fight fraudulent forwarding agents by having a “proper” online payment system in place, says the Federation of Malaysian Freight Forwarders.
Its president Alvin Chua said the falsification of Customs Official Receipt (COR) by syndicates can be prevented if there is an effective online system that allows customers to pay duties to the Customs Department.
“There are some black sheep in the industry falsifying documents, and cheating unsuspecting customers by making non-dutiable goods dutiable. This has been happening for many years,” said Chua.
“But this can be fixed by having a proper online payment system. Customers would not have to worry about being swindled because they can pay directly to the department themselves.
“The current FPX Payment (Financial Process Exchange) system is ‘inconvenient’ and ‘problematic’ because customers often encounter problems while the transaction is being processed.
“When this happens, it takes days or weeks to rectify the problem.
“During that time, we (forwarding agents) cannot move the cargo.
“This is worrisome. So, most people opt to pay duties by cheque, or let the agents handle the payment for them.
“These problems can be solved by using the Interbank GIRO system instead.”
Chua said 90% of exporting companies comprise small and medium enterprises (SMEs) that still rely fully on freight forwarders despite having access to payment software or applications.
He claimed that lack of awareness and training on how to utilise these platforms would also deter customers from using the application recently launched by the Customs Department to check Customs tariff, Goods and Services Tax, and duties.
“Even if customers have the software or app to make the payment on their own, I do not think they will use it.
“A lot of them still give their password and username to forwarding agents to do the payment on their behalf.
“There needs to be more training and awareness on how to use the app,” Chua added.
Chua said authorities such as the Customs Department need to look at freight forwarders as partners in collecting tax, and not criminals.
“They have to engage with the industry before introducing new rules or systems,” he said.