KUALA LUMPUR: Trade in counterfeit items and contraband can only end if government agencies work together as one, with further pressure from trademark owners, said speakers at a summit today.
Guna Selan Marian, an enforcement consultant from KDJLaw, said it was impossible for just the Customs to handle this issue.
Speaking at the Global Illicit Trade Summit 2018, Guna warned that a lot of counterfeit goods were being sold online, making it difficult to detect the movement of goods.
“We don’t find wholesalers selling counterfeit products. It is the smaller peddlers who are involved in this illicit business.”
Guna, a former senior enforcement officer with the domestic trade, cooperatives and consumerism ministry, said many peddlers go to China and bring back smaller packages, making detection difficult.
“Government agencies need to sit together to find a solution.”
That would include the maritime forces, police, customs and various ministries, he added.
Guna said those holding licences to branded items need to exert more pressure on the enforcement authorities.
Some of the biggest counterfeit products are clothes, leather goods, shoes, cellphones, accessories, alcoholic drinks and cigarettes.
Ali Salman, a director of research with the Institute for Democracy and Economic Affairs (IDEAS), said Putrajaya had been successful in curbing illicit DVDs in the market.
“Malaysia was home to illicit DVDs at one time but the authorities have managed to control it.
“The government can take heed of the tactics used and apply them to fight contraband,” said Ali.
He said about 10% of capital flow in Malaysia was linked to illicit trade.
Guilherme Silva, managing director of JTI Malaysia, claimed the government is losing about RM4 billion in revenue from illicit cigarettes every year.
“Taxes are high and the market is turning to selling unlicensed cigarettes,” said Silva, adding that this requires the attention of the highest officials in Putrajaya.
He also agreed it was difficult for just one agency to tackle this problem.
“The Customs Department needs to work with the maritime forces, police and other enforcement agencies to tackle this problem,” he said.