Former Sarawak police chief calls for use of SOSMA and AMLA against cigarette barons

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IT IS now more critical than ever to classify illegal cigarette smuggling as organized crime under the Security Breaches (Special Measures) Act 2012 (SOSMA) and use the Money Laundering Act 2001. money (AMLA) to eliminate its perpetrators, said former Sarawak police chief Datuk Dr Yusoff Nook.

He said that following a series of media briefings and law enforcement’s confirmation of illegal cigarette smuggling, kingpins cost Malaysia RM 5 billion in tax revenue not collected each year.

“After reports of smugglers moving their operations to vulnerable coastal entry points, it is good to hear law enforcement agencies like the police and the customs service announce a series of busts and seizures of illegal cigarettes.

“However, while millions of cigarette sticks are said to have been seized with each operation, it is far too little to make a difference. Every year, more than 12 billion sticks of illegal cigarettes are brought into our country and these occupy more than half of the market share of cigarettes sold in Malaysia, ”he said in a statement.

According to Yusoff, the police have also recognized the presence of pillars of illegal cigarette smuggling to the point of giving them names like Ben and Jimmy, while disclosing their organization chart and how they operate.

“However, why are these kingpins and organizations still allowed to exist and operate? Obviously, the information gathered over all these years should be enough to eliminate it? ” He asked.

“At a time when the Covid-19 pandemic is devastating our economy and white flags are surfacing in our communities, Malaysia has no place for the mainstays of illegal cigarettes. Not only do they lose the country precious funds that can help recovery, but they also destabilize our social fabric with criminal elements and corrupt practices.

“It is time that existing laws, including SOSMA and LBA, were harnessed to empower our enforcement agencies to take swift and immediate action against this threat to national security.

“Policymakers must put aside their political differences and take advantage of the resumption of Parliament to support the use of SOSMA, AMLA and even the Crime Prevention Act 1959 (POCA) to get rid of these. kingpins, ”he said.

Yusoff said relevant ministers and ministries must also do more to protect our law enforcement heroes who have come under pressure from people with special interests as they work to end the endemic problem of smuggling. of illegal cigarettes here in Malaysia.

He also urged Finance Minister Tengku Datuk Seri Zafrul Tengku Abdul Aziz and Coordinating Minister to drive the National Recovery Plan (PNR), to ensure that the multi-agency working group is highly effective and provides viable support for do its job.

“In addition, the anti-smuggling illegal cigarettes initiatives that he introduced in the 2021 budget are being diligently enforced while providing the necessary funds to strengthen enforcement around our coast.

“After all, any economic growth achieved will be undone by the serious leaks enjoyed by the pillars of contraband,” he added.


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