GEORGE TOWN, Dec 23 – The Foochow Coffee Shop Owners’ Association, Penang and few other Association, about 30 members in Malaysia, hold a press conference in this morning at CRC Restaurant said that they will not agree with the requirement to have coffeeshop operators to apply for the license to sell the cigarettes starting on next year.
Also present were P.Wellesly Cafe Association, Persatuan Tuan-Tuan Empunya Kedai Kopi dan Kedai Seberang Perai, Kedah Chinese Coffee Shopkeeper’s Association, Central Kedah Show Owners’ Association and Persatuan Kedai-Kedai Kopi Perlis at the event here today.
“We attended a consultation session with the Ministry of Plantation Industries and Commodities in June 2015 and during the meeting, we heard the proposal to require license to sell cigarettes for the first time. We gave our views that Government should conduct more consultations with relevant parties before making any decision and we have also shared the views that the licensing requirement id unnecessary,”said the president of the Foochow Coffee Shop Owners’ Association, Toon Koon Ku.
“Besides that, the Government also said that they are still studying the matter. However, recently the Lembaga Kenaf Dan Tembakau Negara (LKTN) have also started to distribute the registration forms to shop owners and also created a section on LKTN website for shop owner to download the form for the registration,” he said.
“This is huge concern to us. We have already written to the Ministry to ask the Ministry to reconsider the matter as it will create complexity for businesses. However, we have yet to receive any official response from the Ministry. We do not agree for the licensing requirement to be implemented as it is an unnecessary requirement and it will create additional burden for our members,” he said.
“Therefore, we will not apply the licenses and will continue to sell the cigarettes on next year until we get the respond from the official. Although the Ministry of Plantation Industries and Commodities implemented the Act 692 National Kenaf and Tobacco Board Act 2009, we will just continue our business,” he said.
“In the meantime, we also understand that there are not many LKTN’s office in Malaysia. It will require a lot of efforts from retailers to make the application at the counter. For instance, LKTN do not have any office in Penang. For retailer in Penang, they will have to make a very long trip to neighbouring states just to apply for the license. Even though online application is available, but still have many retailers do not know how to utilise the online application,” he added.
In additional, during the consultation, Toon also said that the Ministry had also shared that the retailers in Sabah and Sarawak would not be licensed to sell the cigarettes. He said they do not believe that this is a right move. Hence, he said the Ministry should review this proposal further.
Meanwhile, he said they also fail to understand the Ministry intends to implemented a licensing requirement to sell the cigarettes. If this is a requirement is implemented, he said it may probably be the only product that coffeeshop operators are required to apply for the license to sell the products.
In the meantime, Toon also said that the association would like to seek the clarification from the Government on whether similar licensing requirements will be placed on the vaping industry given that these products are currently sold openly in the market which without any license.
He said this is unfair to have them to apply for the license to sell the cigarettes while there are no licensing requirement for other parties to sell those other products. Lastly, he added that he hope that the Ministry of Plantation Industries and Commodities and LKTN will review this proposal again because it will impact many coffeeshop operators in Malaysia.