Relax Khairy, GEG’ impasse is all part of not wanting to give you political legitimacy, leaving behind legacy

ACCORDING to Khairy Jamaluddin, it was not legal questions about the constitution but political pressure that had halted the passing of the controversial tobacco control bill, sometimes called the generational end game (GEG) bill which he had created in his capacity as the health minister.

I don’t know about that. Even if the bill is cancelled for now, I don’t think that we have heard the last of the bill.

The way I see it, the bill’s progress has probably been halted, because if it passed, it would give Khairy a legacy – and nobody in the unity government wants to give Khairy a legacy.

Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad did not lift a single finger to build Putrajaya. He did not spend a single cent of his money on its construction and it was most likely not even his idea.

But as long as Putrajaya remains as the administration capital of Malaysia, everybody will remember Dr Mahathir as the person who created it simply because he had been successful in establishing a hard to erase legacy.

The GEG bill is the brainchild of former health minister Khairy Jamaluddin

If you have legacy, you have sealed your political legitimacy. Even if you fall out of power and accrue the disdain of your former supporters, your name will still have currency in the political landscape of the nation – forever.

It is because nobody in PH wanted Najib to be remembered as a hero that his 1Malaysia initiatives like BR1M (Bantuan Rakyat 1Malaysia) was cancelled and replaced with the Bantuan Sara Hidup (BSH) scheme almost immediately after he was toppled.

Personal problem between Khiary, Anwar

In the same way, I reckon that the GEG bill will also likely be replaced by a similar scheme but with a different name sometime in the future.

In my mind, the GEG bill will probably be put in cold storage for a couple of years until everybody forgets about it or till a new Health Minister re-introduces it after tweaking it here and there and claim the initiative as his/her own legacy.

Khairy, however, doesn’t seem to have taken kindly to his bill being delayed.

With guns blazing, he has named the Tourism, Arts and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Tiong King Sing, de facto Law Minister Datuk Seri Azalina Othman Said and someone called the “gaffer” (which is British slang word for the boss) as the ministers responsible for placing unnecessary obstacle to the passing of the bill.

Personally, I don’t understand why he just named two ministers while merely hinting at who the third person could be. Does Khairy think that Anwar is Lord Voldemort, a “You-Know-Who” whose name cannot be mentioned openly?

In any case, if Khairy thinks that people are going to react to him naming the ministers by pressuring or shaming them to stop placing obstacles in the passing of the bill, I think he is going to be sorely disappointed.

Just because a trio of ministers have stopped the passing of the bill, we don’t see them as the enemy of the people who are bent on causing Malaysians to suffer from lung cancer.

For better or worse, this bill is not something that we wanted. It is a bill that was imposed on us by our government and ministers, ostensibly for our own good. We don’t strongly object to it because nobody thinks that smoking is a good habit but at the end of the day, it is still not a bill that we wanted for us to get upset about it not being passed.

Personally, I just think that this is just a personal problem between Anwar and Khairy. For all you know, I think Anwar might just be upset that Khairy gave such a fawning interview to Anwar’s arch-nemesis Dr Mahathir on his Keluar Sekejap podcast a few days ago.

After that stunt, what was Khairy expecting Anwar to do? Bring him tea and sweets and ask him how everybody in his family is doing? – Nov 17, 2023


Nehru Sathiamorthy is a roving tutor who loves politics, philosophy and psychology.

The views expressed are solely of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Focus Malaysia.

Main pic credit: Malaysiakini

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