Tackling corruption in the Customs Department and upping efforts against smuggling are two points that has been taken on by its newly-appointed director-general T. Subromaniam, reported The Star Online.
The news portal quoted him as saying at his first press conference yesterday as Customs head:
“We have declared war on smugglers.”
Subromaniam also said for this, border officers under the department would be armed by next week.
He took over the helm from Khazali Ahmad last week.
“At present, only officers who are handling imports and exports are stationed at the border gates. When those at the border spot something untoward, they will contact the enforcement officers who are the ones carrying firearms,” he was quoted as saying.
“Why should the officers with firearms be elsewhere in some office? They should be right there at the borders so that they can catch the smugglers on the spot.”
The department monitors more than 150 border points including main entry points like airports and harbours, and jetties and small landing areas.
He added that under the National Blue Ocean Strategy, the department would work with other enforcement agencies to strengthen its border control.
In terms of corruption, he said there were a few corrupt officers although the majority of them were “clean” while all 14,000 Customs officers were required to sign an anti-corruption pledge.
This meant they are obliged to report incidents of graft.
A “Corruption Risk Management” tool, developed by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission, will be launched with the intent “to identify areas which were high risk and prone to leakages or abuse of power”.
Cigarette smugglers are also being targetted by the department.
They have a target of lessening the number of contraband cigarettes in the domestic market by 50% over the next three years.