Tackling smuggling, false declaration

Posted on : 06 Feb 2018  Source of News: borneo post online

Abang Johari (seated centre) and Subromaniam (seated sixth left) in a group photo with Customs directors and officers. — Photo by Tan Song Wei

KUCHING: The Royal Malaysian Customs Department (Customs) has introduced a New Agent Policy as part of its efforts to tackle issues such as smuggling and false declaration of imports and exports.

According to its director-general Datuk Seri Subromaniam Tholasy, the new policy will require Customs forwarding agents to “know their customer” based on the ‘Know Your Customer Due Diligence’ concept, where the agents must verify the identity of importers and exporters and make sure they are not violating the Customs Act.

“The forwarding agents serve as the middlemen between Customs and the importers and exporters and it is their responsibility to know who their customers are to ensure that cases such as false declaration

of goods or smuggling do not occur,” he told a press conference prior to the launch of the 83rd Malaysian Customs Directors Meeting which was officiated by Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg at a leading hotel here yesterday.

Subromaniam pointed out that the decision to introduce the policy was in view of the many smuggling or false declaration cases discovered by the department and whenever Customs officers investigated these cases, more often than not, the companies were either bogus or the premises did not exist.

“We have since given time for the Customs forwarding agents to verify their customers and if we find out that there are still cases of false declaration or smuggling, we will suspend their licence for six months,” he stressed.

To prove that Customs meant business, Subromaniam disclosed that 31 forwarding agents throughout the country had since had their licence suspended.

Most of the agents are from Selangor while seven are from Sibu, Sarikei and Kuching.

“These errant agents have been given show-cause letters whereby the suspension of their licence takes effect on February 5 (yesterday).

“They were found to have committed various offences including falsifying documents, submitting false declaration, participating in smuggling activities, presenting falsified Customs Official Receipts and so on,” he explained.

He expressed hope that following this policy, smuggling and false declaration cases would be reduced and eradicated.

“We will not compromise with those who try to trick the Customs Department nor will we tolerate those who give excuses that they were merely declaring information submitted by the importers or exporters.

“If they are found to be involved in one way or another, be it in falsifying documents or declaring false imported or exported goods, stern action will be taken against them,” he warned.

Currently, there are around 3,000 forwarding agents nationwide.

Also present were Customs deputy director-generals Datuk Zulkifli Yahya (Enforcement and Compliance), Datuk Paddy Abdul Halim (Customs/GST) and Datuk Dr Ahmad Jailani Muhamed Yunus (Management), and State Customs director Datin Sharifah Halimah Tuanku Taha.