MMA: “Govt’s postponement of Tobacco Bill unacceptable, a betrayal of public trust”

THE Malaysian Medical Association (MMA) has slammed Putrajaya for what has been described as an “abrupt delay” in the second reading of the Control of Smoking Products for Public Health Bill 2023 which was originally set for today (Oct 10).

MMA president Dr Azizan Abdul Aziz said the association was initially hopeful about the government’s commitment to pass the crucial Bill but recent decisions such as removing liquid and gel nicotine from the Poisons Act earlier this year – alongside the recent postponement – had eroded their confidence in the government’s dedication to this legislation.

“The Health Ministry’s decision to disregard expert advice against removing nicotine from the Poisons Act before introducing the Control of Smoking Products for Public Health Bill 2023 raises serious concerns,” she said in a statement today (Oct 10).

“As it stands, the vape industry remains unchecked, and with nicotine’s exemption from the Poisons Act, vaping products, including those containing nicotine, are accessible to children of all ages. This is an alarming situation that no responsible government should permit.”

Yesterday (Oct 9) the Health Ministry announced that the second reading of the Bill will once again be postponed to a later date to make way for other government business arrangements listed in the Parliament Order Paper.

The Health Ministry in a statement said that the second reading of the Bill will be tabled in the near future instead of the initially slated date of Oct 10.

In June, Bill was sent back to a parliamentary special select committee (PSSC) for further review shortly after it was tabled for its first reading in Parliament.

Health Minister Dr Zaliha Mustafa then said the decision was made as there were several recommendations proposed at the engagement sessions held in the previous weeks at the time with government and non-governmental stakeholders that needed further consideration.

The Control of Tobacco Product and Smoking Bill, which includes the Generational End Game (GEG) policy, was previously tabled last August by Dr Zaliha’s predecessor, Khairy Jamaluddin.

Back then, the Bill was also referred to the PSSC for a review.

Its re-tabling was delayed due to the dissolution of Parliament, and subsequently the 15th general election (GE15) last year. – Oct 10, 2023


Main pic credit: The Star

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