If you like beaches and booze, a new ruling that went into effect on March 27 will likely have you smiling.
In a welcome reversal to a policy implemented in 2016 under an Excise Duties Order on the duty-free island of Langkawi, residents and visitors will now be able to purchase alcohol and tobacco with no restrictions. The lifting of restrictions applies to all duty-free islands in Malaysia, and represents the latest chapter in what has been a confusing and somewhat back-and-forth saga on the duty-free island.
Previously, tourists and residents buying alcohol and tobacco in Langkawi were subjected to limits on the quantities they purchased each month. The limits set were three cartons of cigarettes, five litres of liquor, and three cases of beer per month. Customers had to hand over their passport or IC for tracking every time they bought alcohol or tobacco. Naturally, this ruling adversely affected the business of traders in Langkawi, who have been complaining ever since the enactment of the rule in November 2016.
Accordingly, the president of the Langkawi Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Industry made an appeal to the current government, asking that they reconsider the regulations, as the livelihoods of many traders on the island were being affected.
According to a story in Sin Chew Daily, the new order was originally intended to go into effect on April 1, but many believe the lifting of restrictions was accelerated in light of the Langkawi International Maritime and Aerospace Exhibition (LIMA), scheduled for March 26-30.
Though this latest change doesn’t impact the amount of goods you can bring out duty-free from Langkawi or the other affected islands – the limits are apparently dictated by the country of residence to which you are ultimately returning and requires a 48-hour minimum stay in Langkawi – it does mean that Langkawi residents can buy freely now, and that no one (resident or tourist) will need to show their passport or IC at the time of purchase, and limits on purchases will no longer apply.
Sounds like a step in the right direction to me!