KUALA LUMPUR: A group of NGOs and health activists have rejected the idea that the proposed Generational End Game (GEG) act should be the only law to curb tobacco consumption.
National Cancer Society Malaysia (NCSM) managing director Dr Murallitharan Munisamy said other laws not related to health need to be implemented as well.
“The GEG bill cannot be a standalone law. For instance, a law needs to be enacted on illicit trade to improve control and enforcement,” he told reporters at a press conference.
Another law should be enacted requiring retailers to register for a licence to sell tobacco and e-cigarette products.
Lending her support, Malaysian Women’s Action for Tobacco Control and Health (MyWATCH) president Roslizawati Md Ali called on Malaysia to also ratify the illicit trade protocol contained in Article 15 of the World Health Organization’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control.
Murallitharan also hit out at MPs who he said were making excuses to delay the GEG bill with some politicising the issue without considering the safety and health of the younger generation.
“The bill discussed by health minister Khairy Jamaluddin was comprehensive and based on scientific facts.
“But there are some shallow-minded MPs who have turned a deaf ear to these clarifications.”
He said this raised the question of whether MPs had vested interests to push the bill’s passing to a later date.
Claiming to speak on behalf of 235 NGOs and health activists around the country, Murallitharan then called for MPs to declare if they had affiliations with tobacco or e-cigarette industry players.
“They can do this by providing a statutory declaration.”
He said the experts and MPs selected to join the parliamentary special committee (PSC) must also do the same.
He said these experts must be truly qualified and be from relevant fields to provide appropriate insights on the issue.
On Tuesday, the Dewan Rakyat voted to refer the Control of Tobacco Products and Smoking Bill 2022 to a PSC through a voice vote.
This came after Khairy had tabled the bill for its second reading and debate.
The bill seeks to ban the use, possession and sale of cigarettes and vape products to those born after 2007.
It has met with resistance from several quarters, including MPs and industry players.
Khairy said he agreed to refer the bill to the PSC to ensure a comprehensive law was passed. The PSC will produce a report on its recommended improvements within a month or no later than the start of the next parliamentary sitting.