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KUCHING, July 24: The federal government has been urged to focus attention on developing strong policies and equipping frontliners and enforcement personnel with resources that can help them perform better while safeguarding their lives.
Dayak Transformation Association (Trada) founder and president Joseph Janting emphasised that the sacrifice, hard work and dedication of frontline unsung heroes in the face of Covid-19 were immeasurable.
“We are also thankful to those who are working hard and dedicatedly in the face of this unprecedented global health crisis to safeguard our lives and protect our nation’s interest.
“As Malaysian citizens, we can play our part in honouring these modern day heroes by supporting the government in efforts to provide them with the necessary resources, while implementing laws and policies that can help them do their job better and safer,” he said in a statement.
Trada, a youth and community advocacy group in Kuala Lumpur, issued the statement today in conjunction with the upcoming Warrior’s Day or Hari Pahlawan which falls on July 31.
Joseph pointed out that those protecting Malaysia’s borders including the police, Customs Department and Armed Forces, were constantly faced with attempts by criminal organisations to smuggle people and illegal products into the country.
“Products like illegal cigarettes are especially concerning to Trada. This not only generates various socio-economic problems but also harms youth, who are susceptible to the negative elements that this black market creates.
“Our enforcement agencies have been hard at work to tackle this illegal cigarettes trade. Trada is especially encouraged to hear the Customs Department of Sarawak’s success in seizing 70.96 million sticks of illegal cigarettes worth approximately RM6.3 million at Bintulu Port recently,” he said.
However, Joseph added that there were 12.2 billion illegal sticks of cigarettes estimated to be sold and consumed in Malaysia in 2019 alone.
“Clearly, the sheer volume of this problem will overwhelm any enforcement agency.
“In addition to providing the necessary funds to recruit more manpower and deploy state-of-the-art technologies to assist our enforcement officers, the government can also look at addressing the root cause of the problem, which is the large gap in price between legitimate and illegal cigarettes,” he said.
Clever policies and tax reforms, he said, can help dissuade smugglers and perpetrators of the black market nationwide and in turn bring down the threat level for enforcement frontliners in carrying out their duties. —DayakDaily