Duty-free cigarettes in airports? No such thing anymore

IT is now required for travellers and tourists who purchase duty free cigarettes in airports will now have to declare and pay taxes on their duty-free cigarettes before entering Malaysia.

This new regulation might end up putting more burden on duty-free retailers who are already significantly suffering from the pandemic.

In light of this, one of the largest duty-free retail groups in Malaysia, The ZON Duty Free believes that the new regulation will cause further losses to its outlets, creating unnecessary problems as flight restrictions have already done its damage.

“Duty free cigarettes are one of the most popular items among travellers. We have many customers who come in to our outlets just to buy cigarettes but then ended up buying other products as well. By making duty free cigarettes not duty free, we expect to lose more than cigarette sales,” said The ZON director Ong Bok Siong.

“In addition, we also expect a lot of confusion when customers expect to get duty free prices and then realise they have to declare and pay taxes when they exit the airport into Malaysia. Is this the experience we want our foreign tourists to have?”

Ong further commented that by enforcing this new policy, the Government is not doing the tourism and retail industry any favours, as it may even lead to more job losses and business closures.

“We would like to urge the Malaysian Government to reconsider taxing duty free cigarettes at airports. Instead, we hope that the Government will provide assistance to the tourism and retail sector to recover and contribute further to the Malaysian economy,” he added. – March 25, 2021

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