45 federal and state coffee shop associations reject tabling of GEG

THE Malaysian Singapore Coffeeshop Proprietors’ General Association (MSCSPGA) and 44 of its affiliate associations are pleading with the Health Ministry (MOH) to re-consider the passage of the Control of Smoking Products for Public Health Bill which intends to impose a smoking ban to those who born after 2007 through the Generation End Game (GEG) policy.

MSCSPGA president Wong Teu Hoon further called on MPs to come to realisation that the bill itself is flawed and will not address the issue in Malaysia.

“We had a conference today (June 6) and would like to voice our concerns to MOH and MPs that the bill shouldn’t be rushed through for it will do more harm than good and defeats the intended objective of reducing the smoking prevalence,” he pointed out in a statement.

Womg Teu Hoon

“We strongly believe that education is the key to reducing smoking prevalence and the government should undertake other tobacco control measures such as expanding non-smoking areas and enforcing underage smoking in Malaysia.

“A smoking ban for the next generation will not address the issue, and a balanced approach is the way forward and avoid causing any unintended consequences.”

Wong said MSCSPGA and its 44 affiliate associations also believed that if the government enforces the smoking ban for those born after 2007, it will force future adult smokers to purchase tobacco products from illegal channels, thus worsening the current illegal cigarette trade in Malaysia.

“The sales of tobacco products contribute significantly to coffee shop businesses in Malaysia and if the smoking ban is enforced, it will inevitably push future adult smokers to illicit tobacco product and affects the livelihood of our operators and the tax revenue for the nation,” he justified.

“With this, our revenue will be impacted which is disheartening more so as the world is preparing for an unprecedented recession.”

Another of MSCSPGA’s foremost concern is the enforcement aspect of GEG whereby business proprietors are made frontliners to enforce GEG as the cost for the government to deploy an enforcement officer at every retail point will be too significant.

Pic credit: The Star

“At the end of the day, retailers will be the ones who need to take up the responsibility to ensure this is enforced sufficiently. If this is the case, our operating cost will certainly increase and may even push retailers to closure.”

Elsewhere, the retailers also expressed concern over the penalties listed under the Bill. Any retailer caught selling cigarettes to a person born after 2007 will be fined a minimum of RM30,000 or face imprisonment of up to three years or both.

“At heart, we support the government’s agenda to reduce the number of smokers in Malaysia. Therefore, we are here today to request the government to halt the passage of the bill and a comprehensive study and consultation should be held with relevant stakeholders,” explained Wong.

“We’re more than happy to collaborate with the government to enhance the bill and urge the MOH and MPs to consider our views and not make any hasty decision in passing a policy that is yet to be tested.”

He added: “GEG is not as easy to implement compared to the minimum age for cigarettes or alcohol. This is because the population affected by the GEG will get older yearly.” – June 7, 2023

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