KUALA LUMPUR: The requirement for coffeeshops to apply for a licence to sell beer from Jan 1 is a common practice, says Deputy Finance Minister I Mohd Shahar Abdullah.
"This is a practice not only in Malaysia but also by neighbouring countries and others throughout the world.
"It is not merely about collecting tax revenue but also on controlling prices of these products," he said in reply to a question raised by Nga Kor Ming (PH-Teluk Intan) in the Dewan Rakyat on Monday (Dec 6).
Nga had questioned the change in government policy over the licensing of the sale of beer.
Although the Customs Department could do so under the Excise Regulations 1977, he said the regulation had never been used prior to this.
Nga added that coffeeshop operators are already burdened with the need to apply for separate licences for signages and business operations.
He claimed that licences to sell beer at coffee shops would cost RM1,340 and this would eventually be passed on to consumers.
Nga said the need for a beer license also comes in the wake of restrictions on the sale of beer imposed by the Perlis state government.
Earlier, Mohd Shahar informed the House that the Customs Department seized smuggled alcohol and cigarettes worth RM97.34mil in 2,842 cases last year.
He said this amounted to losses in tax revenue for the government totalling RM707.14mil.
"Based on statistics, the department seized smuggled cigarettes and alcohol worth RM41.43mil involving 2,518 cases between January and September this year.
"This amounted to losses in revenue totalling RM281.69mil," he added.
To a question by Datuk Salim Shariff (BN-Jempol), Shahar said the government is considering imposing a tax of RM1.20 per ml for nicotine-based vape liquid used in electronic cigarettes.
He said this was lower than the vape liquid tax imposed by South Korea which is more than RM6 per ml and RM2.47 per mL in Indonesia.
He added that no final decision has been made on the matter with the ministry still in talks with industry players.