CUSTOMS Department director-general Datuk Seri T. Subromaniam was recently quoted as saying Malaysia had lost RM2.5 billion in taxes and duties in the past three years, largely due to the counterfeiting of documents by forwarding agents.
According to him, the country lost RM1 billion last year alone in uncollected taxes, while goods worth RM731 million were smuggled into Malaysia.
For the Malaysian Institute of Integrity (Integriti), the loss of billions of ringgit from the national income should be taken seriously.
Integriti believes that Customs has begun taking concrete steps to instil a culture of integrity in its staff and improve its administration.
As part of the cooperation between Integriti and Customs, the department has been using the Malaysian Integrity Profile psychometric test during its recruitment process. This is expected to include executive members as well.
The test is an instrument to evaluate an individual’s integrity in terms of personal quality and principles.
Customs is one of the agencies that participated in the Enforcement Agency Integrity Module programme introduced by Integriti last year.
A holistic approach for all levels of personnel involved is important to ensure the effectiveness of the efforts to curb smuggling and address the issue of leakage of national income.
Customs cannot single-handedly resolve smuggling and tax revenue leakages.
While the Customs management takes steps to establish a high-integrity environment, forwarding agents also have a responsibility to ensure integrity is placed ahead of profit-making. Everyone involved in the processes of Customs transactions should inculcate integrity.
Integriti will continue to support the management of the Customs Department and other parties in their efforts to establish a high-integrity environment that will benefit Malaysia and its people.
DATUK DR ANIS YUSAL YUSOFF
President, chief executive officer, Malaysian Institute of Integrity