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KUCHING, Nov 9: The state Ministry of Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs (KPDNHEP) has seized RM2.3 million worth of smuggled goods this year.
Its Enforcement director Datuk Iskandar Halim Sulaiman said most of the seized goods are petroleum liquid (LPG) gas and cooking oil, which are subsidised in Malaysia.
A total of 106 investigation papers were opened under the Control of Supplies Act 1961.
“These items are much cheaper here in Malaysia as compared to neighbouring countries. Take an example, our cooking oil is sold at RM2.50 per litre, where as, it is sold at about RM4 in Indonesia and Thailand.
“Due to the huge price differences and attractive earnings, these people are willing to take the risk and smuggle it to the other side,” Iskandar told a press conference today.
He added that Sarawak has a very long stretch of border and it is also known to have many “jalan tikus” or secret routes, thus making it possible for goods to be easily smuggled in and out the country.
However, without revealing specific details, Iskandar said most of the cases recorded were from legitimate roads and border control post such as Serikin and Tebedu, followed by Limbang.
“Majority of them are individual small-time sellers, but we do not rule out syndicates behind them,” he added.
Iskandar was quick to point out that the ministry had taken various measures to combat the smuggling of the items, especially subsidised goods by establishing closer ties with other enforcement agencies.
“We take a serious view on activities involving smuggling of subsidised and controlled items at the Sarawak-Indonesia border to ensure that the subsidy on such items is enjoyed only by Malaysian citizens.
“One of the enforcement strategies in curtailing the smuggling of controlled items is to collaborate with other border enforcement agencies such as the police, armed forces, Immigration, Customs, Marine Police, Civil Defence Force and the Road Transport Department.
He said the collaboration would also help curb the leakage of controlled items and resolve issues such as the abuse of power, corruption, breach of trust, as well as other malpractices in the process of distributing basic necessity subsidies to eligible target group. — DayakDaily