PETALING JAYA: The Malaysian Medical Association (MMA) today questioned remarks by Tiong King Sing on the Generational End Game (GEG) bill, saying the tourism, arts and culture minister appeared to lack a fundamental understanding of the dangers of smoking despite the scientific evidence accumulated over years of global research.
MMA president Dr Azizan Abdul Aziz said data, including from the World Health Organization, showed that tobacco claims the lives of over eight million people annually throughout the world.
“In Malaysia, it is estimated that 20,000 deaths attributed to smoking occur each year. We urge the minister to thoroughly examine the available facts,” she said in a statement.
She also defended Khairy Jamaluddin’s performance during his tenure as health minister, saying he had displayed courage in making unpopular decisions by introducing the GEG bill.
“It is regrettable that this forward-thinking effort faces opposition rather than support from the current government,” she said.
Last week, Tiong said Khairy had introduced an “unconstitutional” and “unenforceable” bill in July 2022, describing it as hastily drafted with ill-prepared measures.
He also said Khairy had consistently failed to substantiate his claims on the vulnerability of the B40 group to smoking-related diseases, and the link between smoking habits and cancer.
Tiong made the remarks after Khairy called out three government figures without directly naming them for causing setbacks to the GEG bill.
Formally known as the Control of Smoking Products for Public Health Bill 2023, the GEG bill came under recent scrutiny after health news portal CodeBlue reported that Attorney-General Ahmad Terrirudin Salleh had deemed a provision in the bill to be “unconstitutional”.
Terrirudin said the provision to ban those born after 2007 from buying and consuming tobacco and vape products violated Article 8 of the Federal Constitution, which guarantees equality.