GENTING HIGHLANDS: The Royal Malaysia Police and the Customs Department have formed five joint committees to tackle multiple crimes, including the smuggling of illicit cigarettes and drugs, says Tan Sri Mohamad Fuzi Harun.
The Inspector-General of Police said the cooperation will lead to more joint operations, including nabbing tontos (syndicate informants).
"Our cooperation will also involved more information sharing between the two departments.
"We will not be working in isolation," he told a press conference after a meeting between the two departments here on Sunday (Jan 13).
Among other aspects of the cooperation would be to deal with Malaysian drug mules nabbed overseas, the IGP added.
"For example, a Malaysian drug mule was arrested by Hong Kong Customs officers recently.
"However, the police are always asked to comment on the matter. With the cooperation, Customs can assist by getting information from their Hong Kong counterpart," Mohamad Fuzi said.
He added that such cooperation will be reciprocated by the police involving Customs matters such as smuggling.
Customs director-general Datuk Seri Subromaniam Tholasy said the police have also agreed to provide more security for Customs officers manning the border checkpoints nationwide.
"We are grateful for the cooperation as both departments are focused in combating crimes," he said.
The department will also step up their operations against smuggling of illicit cigarettes and alcoholic beverages.
"We have identified the syndicates involved in the smuggling of contraband.
"We can increase our operations with the cooperation of the police," he said.
Subromaniam also said that the amendments to the Customs Act 1967 and the Excise Act 1976 have already taken into effect.
“The first case charged under the amendments involved two Pakistani nationals after they pleaded guilty to possessing illegal cigarettes, worth RM152.
“They have been sentenced to a RM100,000 fine. Failure to do so would result in a one-year jail sentence,” he said, adding that the department would send all similar cases to court.
As of now, there are already six more cases due to be brought to court soon.
Subromaniam said that before the amendments, punishments were as low as a RM1,000 fine, or even a single day in prison.
Revenue from collection of taxes involving cigarettes and alcoholic beverages last year amounted to RM5.5bil.
"Our KPI this year is RM7bil in terms of such tax collection.
"We are going all out against the smuggling of contraband," he said.
"Ignorance of sellers or shop owners in selling such contrabands will not be tolerated," he added.