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Over RM1b lost to liquefied petroleum gas smugglers
Published on: Wednesday, January 22, 2020
By: Christy Chok
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TAWAU: Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Minister, Datuk Seri Saifuddin Nasution Ismail, revealed that the nation lost more than RM1 billion in leakages due to smuggling of subsidised Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) cylinders from 2015 to 2017.

The Ministry’s enforcement statistics show 2,456 seizures valued at RM64,922,591 involving sugar, cooking oil, wheat flour, petrol, diesel and subsidised LPG subsidy from 2015 till end of last year, while 703 seizures valued at RM35,987,336 were recorded under joint-operations with other enforcement agencies during the period.

The Ministry is responsible for ensuring that the government subsidised goods reach the targeted group, Saifuddin told a press conference after a working visit to Pulau Sebatik. 

Pulau Sebatik, an island off Tawau is shared by both Malaysia and Indonesia and is noted for rampant smuggling of gas cylinders and cooking oil, among others. Malaysian goods are also often smuggled to southern Philippines.

It was earlier reported that these goods cost more in their respective countries because they have to be shipped to the provinces from their respective capitals while it is easier to smuggle them from nearby Sabah, which is closer to both Mindanao and Kalimantan, besides being subsidised.

“The sea boundaries between Malaysia and Indonesia are very close with each other. There are about 10,000 Malaysians living in Sebatik island and they are entitled to enjoy subsidies from the government. Therefore, we will ensure adequate supply of subsidies and delivery efficiency for them (Malaysians).

“In the meantime, we will enforce licensing on  Wholesale and Retail, particularly in selling subsidised LPG cylinders. 

“Currently, a 14kg cylinder for domestic use is sold at RM26.60, exclusive of handling fee which may reached about RM30,” he said.

Nevertheless, he said,   the Ministry is prepared to work together with other enforcement agencies under Esscom, to combat smuggling activity at the sea border.

Meantime, the Maritime Enforcement Agency Tawau zone foiled an attempt to smuggle out about 289gm  of drugs worth RM50,000 in waters heading to a neighbouring country from Kg Titingan, Batu 4, Tawau on Thursday, afternoon.

Its zone director, Kepten Siva Kumar A/L Vengadasalam, said, they stopped a suspicious wooden boat while patrolling and discovered a black parcel containing crystallise substances believed to be syabu on the boat.

The officers detained two men (a boat skipper and crew) aged 41 and 43 who failed to produce valid documents.

The duo together with the seizures including the boat, valued RM60,000 were sent to Tawau Maritime for investigation under dangerous drugs act 1952.

Siva said Tawau maritime will continue to enhance their patrolling and enforcement from time to time for combating crimes at the borders in Tawau. Members of public are encouraged to provide information or complaints at 089-752115 or MERS 999.

The seizure of about 289 gram of drugs worth RM50,000 and some other items.

 



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