Customs targets online contraband


  • Nation
  • Sunday, 10 Mar 2019

Director General of Customs Malaysia Seri Subromaniam Tholasy during the press conference In conjunction with the High-level meeting between the Royal Malaysia Police and the Customs Department at Awana Resort Genting. AZLINA ABDULLAH/The Star.

PETALING JAYA: The Customs Department has the means to arrest those involved in the online sale of contraband, warned its director-­general Datuk Seri T. Subromaniam (pic) on his last day at the helm.

The department can also detect those buying illicit cigarettes, liquor, firecrackers and other contraband online, he said.

“Whether they use conventional or non-conventional methods of delivery, as well as legal or illegal tender as modes of payment, we can still take action once they are caught having contraband in their possession.

“Even if transactions are made online using cryptocurrency not regulated by the central bank, we can still take action once the goods are physically transported or stored,” Subromaniam told The Star yesterday.

He was asked about the challenges faced by the authorities in clamping down on contraband ordered online and delivered directly from suppliers based abroad.

Sellers claimed they could escape detection by using Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies not regulated by central banks.

Subromaniam said that the mode of payment was immaterial because the department could still intercept and seize the contraband itself.

“We can raid where the contraband is stored.

“We can also intercept during the transportation process,” he added.

Subromaniam said the aggressive crackdown on contraband in recent months could have pushed the smugglers further underground.

“From January to February, we have brought more than 325 cases to court,” he added.

The suspects were charged under the Customs Act 1967 (Revised 1980) for various smuggling offences.

Subromaniam, popularly known as Mr GST (Goods and Services Tax), retired yesterday after serving in the public sector for 35 years.

Subromaniam also ensured the smooth transition from GST to the current Sales and Services Tax.

“The transition process went smoothly without any glitch,” he noted.

The GST was imposed by the previous Barisan Nasional government in 2015 despite a massive public outcry, prompting the Pakatan Harapan govt to revert to the SST.

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