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According to Wikipedia, custom is defined by an authority or agency in a country responsible for collecting and safeguarding customs duties and for controlling the flow of goods including animals, transports, personal effects and hazardous items in and out of a country. Other definition of custom is practice or rule of conduct established in a particular community, locality, or trade, by long usage and obligatory on those within its scope. A valid custom must be certain, reasonable, not contrary to statute law, and of immemorial antiquity.

It is also called custom and usage. Malaysia which once known as Tanah Melayu has implemented the collection of tax since before the colonial era. The one responsible on that era to collect the tax known as Shahbandar and the one who become their chief is Penghulu Bendahari. Upon with the colonial era, Straits Settlement (Negeri-Negeri Selat) was formed. There were three straits in the Straits Settlement; Malacca, Penang and Temasik (Singapore). Each straits consist of Governor who has the authority to collect the tax. They were lead by General Council located at Calcutta which control by Board of Control of British East India Company. Even though the Straits Settlement has been formed, the previous tax used by Pembesar Melayu still used such as Tax Farming. With the formation of Federation of Malaya on 1948, Customs and Excise department also establish for the whole Malay Peninsula.

The formation of the customs union Federation of Malaya 1948 was suggested by Sir Cecil Clementi. The suggestion was made on the Head of Rulers Conference which also known as Durbar on 1931 at Seri Menanti, Negeri Sembilan. According to Custom Ordinance 1952, those who involve with The Federal Council are responsible for issuing all regulations relating to customs matters. Upon reaching the independence days on August 1957 and the formation of Malaysia, the Customs and Excise department were restructured many times to make the regulation was tally with the developing Malaysia.

In Malaysia, custom department was known as Royal Malaysian Custom. Each department or organization in government or private sector has its own mission and vision. The vision of Royal Malaysian Custom is to make Malaysian Customs services world class in 2015. Royal Malaysian Custom got three main missions. First and foremost is to drive economic growth. Second is protects national security and public welfare through revenue collection services. Third is facilitates the trade and industrial and ensuring adherence to the laws through efficient and effective means.

The article state that the custom has increased and upgrade the scanner machine located at the country gate. They did this to ensure that their officer can increase the performance via high technology machine. The custom done this because of the increase of smuggling activity happen in our country. Recently, the smuggling activity has increased. As a normal citizen, I observe that this thing happen due to government has increase the price of some items without telling to the citizen. Thus, the normal citizen demand on the low price items has increased greater. Smuggler who wants to make the profit will use this opportunity to distribute their items.

What is smuggle item? Smuggle item is an item which were brought into the country illegally and not paying the duty. Usually the item also did not follow the standard rate of a certain item. For example is smuggle phone. Are the phones either is safe to be used and has the safety warranty or any others. Another example is nicotine and tar ratio in a cigarette. Usually the ratio in the smuggle cigarette not following the standard that is state by the ministry of health.

Proposal to Improve Custom 1. In my opinion, what custom has done was a great worked. This is because they will prevent smuggling from occur and prevent a person or company that trying to evade from paying tax and create an equal right among all importer. A research has been done by Richard James from Goldman Sachs Group Inc. According to the statistic that was done by him, our country was listed as the top country that smuggling cigarettes. James said that on year 2009, the percentage of cigarette smuggle is 37 percent and is expected to increase as the legal cigarette price was announced increase by the government.

The smuggler today also has come with many creative and unimaginable methods to smuggle their goods. For example is what stated by www.harian – There was a smuggler who dug a whole between a bunch of 15 piece of footwear. Thus, custom effort to upgrade the scanning machine was a great idea to prevent from a new way of smuggling that the smuggler keeps improving it. All of this activity happen due to what is stated before, that is due to government has increase the price towards several item. To prevent this from occurring again, I think government should decide properly before making decision on increasing the price of items.

For example, the price of the smoke was increased because the government think that by increasing the smoke price, a smoker citizen will decrease thus create a healthy citizen. But what is expected by the government was wrong. A heavy smoker made the smoke as their habit. Even there is a slogan made by them. The slogan is “smoke is like their second life” or “we cannot live without smoke”. Thus, to continue their habit, they intend to find a smoke which has lower price. The lower price smoke is surely the smuggle smoke. And the smuggle smoke contain higher nicotine and tar which did not follow the ratio of both ingredient that is allowed by the ministry of health under the poison act 1952 and food act 1983 control of tobacco product (amendment) regulation 2008. This indicates that smuggle smoke is more dangerous compare to prohibited smoke.

2. One of custom general objective is to prevent loss of revenue. As we all know the tax collected by the custom is one the country revenue. The revenue will be used to develop the country. It also gives benefit to the citizen if the country developed well. Thus, by more smuggling activity occurs, it causes lot of country revenue loss. It is equal to a hard for the government to develop the country. To prevent or reducing the activity, Malaysian Custom can implement what has been done by the Singapore Customs (SC). SC has made “joint media released by Singapore Customs (SC) and Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA)”. On these joint, the SC manage to arrested many smuggling attempt. One of the attempts is happen on 11 April 2009 at Tuas Checkpoint.

The smuggler foiled a smuggling attempt using bricks to conceal illegal cigarettes. They done the operation as soon as they receive the information that there will be Malaysia-registered prime mover would be smuggling duty-unpaid cigarettes into Singapore. As the first line of defence towards the smuggling activity on Singapore region, ICA has intercepted the vehicle that is believed to be the smuggler. As the result, they found a total of 20,970 packets of cigarettes hidden beneath the floorboard of the centre column of the trailer. Officers had to drill and pry open the centre column of the trailer’s floorboard to expose the smuggled cigarettes. All the content in the vehicle was seized and the driver was arrested and punished using the Singapore Law.

On the contrary, Malaysia first line of defence from smuggling activity is the custom itself. Thus, the custom can create a division for the immigration and check point authority to make the work flow more ease and efficient. They also must act fast as soon as they received the information. The custom must execute the law strictly. They must tighten up the security checks on the cargo or vehicles to prevent attempts to smuggle things. This is to prevent the loss of country revenue which helps the country to develop. Besides, custom side must aware with new techniques used by smuggler to smuggle things as they somehow will try to find a new way to smuggle their things.

3. As addition, I think the custom also can send their officer regularly to make exercise on checking cargo or goods pass the custom. This will ensure that they can do a full check on the cargo or goods fast and efficient without wasting time. This also can increase the quality of the custom and make the other country respect our custom. Besides, the custom also must select their officer carefully so that there will be no bribe case happen during the process of checking and pass the custom. This is to ensure that our custom not look down by the smuggler and other country custom.

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