PUTRAJAYA: No new cigarette import licences will be issued from Jan 1, said Customs director-general Abdul Latif Abdul Kadir.
However, he said existing import licences could still be renewed by the Customs Department, with tighter conditions.
There will also be no more duty-free cigarettes sold in duty-free islands or in free zones.
“To tighten the renewal of cigarette import licence, the additional conditions for importing the minimum quantity of cigarettes that have been set within 12 months must be adhered to,” Latif said in a statement today.
He said that from Friday, all transhipment of cigarettes, tobacco products, electronic and non-electronic cigarette devices including vape and nicotine-free liquids/gels used in electronic cigarettes, are only allowed at five ports.
The ports are Westport and Northport in Selangor; Tanjung Pelepas in Johor; Sandakan Port, Sabah and Senari Port, Sarawak.
“ISO containers must be used for transhipment activities and they must only be Full Container Load (FCL) shipment as break bulk activities are not allowed,” he said.
Abdul Latif said transit activities for export purposes by road are allowed, provided they are imported through the five ports, travel from the transhipment port has been set directly to the final destination abroad, and they comply with the provisions of the Customs Act 1967, Customs Regulations 2019 as well as department policies which are in force.
He said that from Jan 1, transhipment of cigarettes and re-export of cigarettes, tobacco products, electronic and non-electronic cigarette devices using small boats would be disallowed.
He said the imposition of tax on cigarettes with drawback facilities for re-export will only be allowed in the Free Zone, subject to Customs’ conditions.
He said re-export should be done within three months from the date duties are paid, while return claims can be made within three months from the re-export date.
Abdul Latif added that the imposition of tax on cigarette products at all duty-free islands namely Langkawi, Labuan, Tioman and Pangkor and the Free Zones (Retail Business) will also start on Friday.
“As such, duty exemption on cigarettes and tobacco products for visitors and tourists will no longer apply from Jan 1, 2021,” he said.
The free commercial zones involved under Section 6A, Free Zones Act 1990 are those in Stulang Laut, Johor; Rantau Panjang and Pengkalan Kubor in Kelantan and Bukit Kayu Hitam, Kedah.
Abdul Latif said the remaining cigarettes and tobacco products that had been imported into the duty-free islands and free zones before Jan 1, 2021 could be stored, owned, sold and disposed of in the same areas.
He said the remaining cigarettes labelled with red tax stamps and duty-unpaid tobacco products that are to be taken out to the Customs Main Area (KUK) should be settled before Jan 1, 2021.
In addition he said, from April 1, 2021 duties and taxes would be imposed on cigarettes and tobacco products imported from abroad or purchased from Duty Free Shops through all modes of transportation when products are brought into the KUK.
These measures are in line with the 2021 budget as part of strategies to improve revenue collection and address smuggling activities especially for high duty goods.
Source: FMT News – 30 December 2020 (Wednesday)