KUALA LUMPUR, Members of Parliament from both sides of the political divide have given mixed reactions to the Control of Smoking Products for Public Health 2023 Bill, which among other things, removes the generational end-game (GEG) provision.
They support the bill but at the same time want provisions related to the ban on the sale of tobacco products and cigarettes, as well as the smoking ban for those born on January 1, 2007, to be reinstated, following the surge in the number of young smokers.
P. Prabakaran (Pakatan Harapan (PH)-Batu) said he would not give up on pressuring the government to continue with the GEG provision in the future, but he said the bill should be approved as the first step towards achieving the GEG.
Clauses 13(1) and 13(3) of the bill stipulate a prohibition on selling and buying tobacco products, smoking materials or tobacco substitute products, or providing any services for smoking to minors.
While tabling the bill for the second reading today, Health Minister Dr Zaliha Mustafa said the bill must be enforced, not only to address gaps in existing legislation, but also to protect non-smokers from the side effects of cigarette smoke, especially children and those defined as minors.
Datuk Seri Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad (PH-Kuala Selangor) and Datuk Dr Zulkafperi Hanapi (Perikatan Nasional (PN) -Tanjong Karang) said it would be difficult to reduce the smoking prevalence from 21 per cent to five per cent by 2045 without the GEG.
Datuk Dr Radzi Jidin (PN-Putrajaya) wanted Dr Zaliha to explain the reason for dropping the GEG provision, which is cited as going against the Federal Constitution.
Meanwhile, Young Syefura Othman (PH-Bentong) said despite the GEG removal, the bill should be approved because it brings significant changes in enhancing control and enforcement in the tobacco industry, adding that society must also play a role in keeping minors from smoking and vaping.
The sitting continues tomorrow.
Source: BERNAMA News Agency