Illegal liquor seized in Kuching

Last Sunday on Dec 21, over 4000 litres of illegal liquor with unpaid duty worth around RM20,972.76 was seized by Sarawak Royal Malaysian Customs Department (JKDM) at a warehouse in Jalan Kaup.

A team of Customs and Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) employees found 4,878.72 litres of illegal liquor with unpaid duty up to RM75,886.91 said Datuk Sharifah Halimah Tuanku Taha the director of MACC Sarawak.

According to the statement, she mentioned: “The store was forcibly opened after failing to detect the premises owner. All the items were seized for further investigation. The warehouse also did not install company board signage to confuse the authorities,” She also mentioned that the case was being investigated under Section 135 (1) (d) Customs Act 1967.

“A person can be fined not less than 10 times the value of the good and not more than 20 times the value of the goods, or jailed not exceeding five years or both if found guilty,’’ she added.

However, this is no surprise. Sarawak is the second-highest liquor consumption state, after the federal territory of Kuala Lumpur. The real problem lies within the government; it is unfair for Malaysians to be paying the second-highest tax in the world after Norway considering Malaysia’s per capita income is nine times lower than Norway’s – Deepak Gill Spokesman for the Alcohol Consumers Network (Alcon).

Especially in a developing state like Sarawak, not many people can afford the price of liquor inclusive of the tax. As a result of this, people would opt for cheaper alternatives such as drugs or cheaper liquors. This would also encourage illegal liquor importers into the country. Which in the end, would affect citizen’s health in the long run.

Written by Aunger Aung
Photos & Story Reference: The Star (a) & (b)