THE Control of Smoking Products for Public Health 2023 Bill has been approved by the Dewan Rakyat through a majority voice vote, marking a significant move towards regulating tobacco-related products in Malaysia.
The bill aims to prohibit the sale and purchase of tobacco products, smoking materials, tobacco substitutes or any service related to smoking for minors. Despite its passage, a tense debate session involving 27 MPs ensued with concerns raised about the exclusion of generational endgame (GEG) provisions from the bill.
Critics including Pasir Gudang MP Hassan Karim questioned whether the government yielded to pressure from tobacco lobbyists in removing these provisions. The GEG clauses would have barred the sale of tobacco and vape products to individuals born after 2007.
Health Minister Dr Zaliha Mustafa clarified on Tuesday (Nov 28) that the exclusion of GEG provisions was due to constitutional concerns. She emphasised that the government had not entirely discarded these provisions but temporarily set them aside.
Moreover, Dr Zaliha added that if deemed necessary in the future, the government might revive tabling the law “if there is a need for the GEG provisions in the future”. – Nov 30, 2023
Main photo credit: New Straits Times