RM14m worth of smuggled liquor seized as at September


THE Royal Malaysian Customs Department has seized contraband liquor totalling RM14.05 million, with the tax value of RM47.29 million as at September 2021.

Deputy Finance Minister II Yamani Hafez Musa said the total seized liquor was obtained from 629 cases with Johor topping the list at 132 cases.

Sarawak came in second with 104 cases, while Kuala Lumpur and Sabah recorded 56 cases each.

“For the whole of 2020, the Customs Department seized smuggled liquor worth nearly RM20.07 million involving 694 cases.

“The total tax value stood at RM36.32 million with Johor recording the highest number of cases at 134, followed by Sarawak and Selangor with 119 and 70 cases respectively,” he said in the Dewan Negara yesterday. Yamani Hafez was responding to a question from Senator Datuk Paul Igai, who requested the breakdown of cases on smuggled liquor at the state level.

The Customs Department also seized RM29 million worth of contraband cigarettes involving RM252.4 million in tobacco taxes as at September. The items were seized from 1,873 cases.

As for last year, Yamani Hafez said the department seized smuggled cigarettes of various brands worth RM74.97 million from 2,104 cases. The seized items involved taxes worth RM661.9 million.

Meanwhile, on the issue surrounding the “Timah” hard liquor, the deputy minister said the labelling of the brand was approved by the Health Ministry (MoH).

He said Winepark Corp, the firm that founded the whiskey, has been an existing excise licence holder since 2003.

“It is not a new licence issued by the Customs Department and the labelling of the product was approved by the MoH,” he said in a response to another question from the senator.

Yamani Hafez acknowledged that it is a sensitive matter and he is not sure which ministry could retract the licence to sell the liquor.

He added that the public’s view on the image used on the bottle cannot be controlled by any party, although the picture used was of Captain Speedy, who was said to have introduced the whiskey culture.

The brand caused a stir among Muslims in the country as the name “Timah” is similar to Fatimah, the daughter of Prophet Muhammad, while Captain Speedy on the bottle was illustrated as a bearded man with a skull cap resembling the kopiah.

Timah’s maker had issued a statement following the controversy, explaining that the brand name was derived from the local meaning of the word “tin” and harks back to the tin mining days in Malaya.

Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Religious Affairs) Idris Ahmad recently agreed with Penang Mufti Datuk Seri Wan Salim Wan Mohd Noor’s call for the company to change its “Timah” brand and the picture used on the bottle.

Idris said such things should not happen as they are provocative, while the use of the name could cause confusion to the community and religion.