Imposing a tax without any regulations in place will be difficult, said Dr Noor Hisham last month, in response to the 2021 Budget tobacco tax announcement. “This is because e-liquid for e-cigarettes that contain nicotine are under the control of the Poisons Act 1952.”

The excise duty is at a 10% rate of the value of the products and one of 40 sen per ml on e-liquids.
An excise tax on all tobacco products and electronic/vaping products, was announced by Malaysia’s Finance Minister Tengku Datuk Seri Zafrul Abdul Aziz, towards the end of 2020 and has now gone into effect. The excise duty is at a 10% rate of the value of the products and one of 40 sen per ml on e-liquids.

The taxes have also been imposed on cigarettes and tobacco products on all retail zones and outlets that sell duty free cigarettes. Moreover, the issuance of new cigarette licences has been frozen, whilst new restrictions on the licensing process are in the works.

Further research should have been conducted

On discussing these measures, Dr Noor Hisham, recently said that the Health Ministry should have conducted further research on the before any form of taxation was set in place. “We need to identify any areas that are overlapped, whether there are any conflicting or contradicting laws from the existing ones (Poisons Act, in regulating non-nicotine vape liquids),” he said last month.

“The new act for tobacco control must be urgently completed and presented (to the Parliament). This Act is currently being reviewed by the Attorney-General’s Chambers. What is important for us now is to look at this (new) Act. Our focus now is on nicotine (regulation) and we need to study and refine how we can implement the tax,” he added.

More taxes and duties to be imposed next April

The tax and accompanying measures have now been passed, and gone into effect on January 1st. Moreover, as of April 1st, 2021, duties and taxes will be imposed on tobacco products imported from abroad or purchased from duty-free shops.

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