Contraband cigarettes seized by the Royal Malaysian Customs are pictured in Perai July 29, 2020. ― Picture by Sayuti Zainudin
Contraband cigarettes seized by the Royal Malaysian Customs are pictured in Perai July 29, 2020. ― Picture by Sayuti Zainudin

KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 4 — An online survey shows that a large majority of Malaysians think the tobacco black market is impeding the country’s Covid-19 economic recovery.

Commissioned by British American Tobacco Malaysia (BAT Malaysia), the survey polled more than 2,000 adult Malaysians.

The key findings of the survey which was part of BAT Malaysia’s “Stop the Black Market” campaign are as follows:

  • An overwhelming majority (88 per cent) of Malaysians believe that the tobacco black market is impeding the nation’s Covid-19 economic recovery;
  • Top three factors sustaining the tobacco black market are corruption (38 per cent), high excise duties (27 per cent) and insufficient resources for enforcement agencies to tackle the issue (19 per cent);
  • Nine out of 10 Malaysians (97 per cent) want the government to take immediate action against the tobacco black market, which contributes to more than RM5 billion losses in uncollected taxes every year; and
  • Malaysians believe that reducing the price differential between legal and black market products (35 per cent) and greater collaboration between law enforcement agencies (29 per cent) are key in countering the tobacco black market.

“From the feedback we received, Malaysians are very concerned about the tobacco black market and support immediate government action to clamp down on the criminal syndicates operating within this space. This support from Malaysians stems from the desire to see the economy recovering post Covid-19,” said Jonathan Reed, managing director of BAT Malaysia.

“As part of a follow up to the survey, BAT Malaysia will be making public the survey findings and launching a second survey on our campaign website https://stoptheblackmarket.com.my/ providing Malaysians with a channel to further express what can be done to address this issue quickly and comprehensively,” he concluded.  

The campaign website which went “live” on July 6, 2020 has had more than 30,000 unique visits.