LANGKAWI, KEDAH, 29 July 2022 – Langkawi Chinese Chamber of Commerce today said that the Tobacco Bill tabled by the Minister of Health for the first hearing at the Parliament two days ago will cut off the primary source of income for business operators in tourism-centred industries.
Mr Ku Chin Loon, Deputy Chairman of Langkawi Chinese Chamber of Commerce, said, “Business operators like us will have more to lose if the tobacco bill is passed. We will lose not only the sales of a particular product but also the others items. Customer footfall will inevitably decrease. The impact will be even more significant for operators that only specialise in selected products.”
“In addition, most of us are gradually recovering from the after-effects of Covid19 and the Government’s decision to impose excise duty on cigarettes in duty-free areas. A complete cigarette ban will cut off our revenue in the long term.”
He added that retailers in the duty-free areas play an essential role in contributing to the economy. Therefore, retailers like us should not be neglected any engagements chaired by the Government. “Our businesses boost the local tourism while attracting domestic and international investors to invest in various industries, creating job opportunities. Malaysia, as one of the favourite investments hub, will no longer be appealing due to its restrictive policies. “
According to Lu, the Government should understand that policy implementation needs to be customised. “Each country is different, for Malaysia, we have a high prevalence of illegal cigarettes of almost 60%, as compared to New Zealand which also plans to impose a similar bill. The bill may be applicable to New Zealand as they have fewer restrictions and more importantly very low illicit cigarette prevalence.
The Langkawi Chinese Chamber of Commerce urges all the members of the parliament, especially those for duty-free havens like Langkawi, Labuan, Pangkor and Tioman, to reconsider their decision on this bill.