PETALING JAYA: The “generational endgame (GEG) or nothing” narrative by Khairy Jamaluddin has been dismissed by a deputy minister who says it is still beneficial to have a tobacco control law passed even without such provisions.
Deputy investment, trade and industry minister Liew Chin Tong said having one law controlling the use of tobacco was already a big win for the country.
He said the proposed law, which has been tabled as the Control of Smoking Products for Public Health Bill, has various clauses to control the sale of tobacco products, its advertising and packaging.
“The ‘GEG or nothing’ narrative put forward by a former health minister is a false dichotomy. There is always a choice.
“The provisions in the bill, if pursued to the maximum extent by the ministry, with the help of all relevant government agencies, will be a new beginning for Malaysia.
“What a waste it was when such good legislation is tied to a ‘GEG or nothing’ dichotomy,” he said in a Facebook post.
Yesterday, health minister Dr Zaliha Mustafa tabled a revised version of the bill for its first reading in the Dewan Rakyat.
She said the government had to remove the GEG provisions from the amended version as they were unconstitutional.
Liew said it was not the end of the road for GEG, because it could still be written into law later with more public consultation and acceptance.
Besides Liew, MPs from both sides of the political divide gave mixed reactions to the GEG’s removal.
Batu MP P Prabakaran told the Dewan Rakyat that the bill should be passed as a first step, but he would continue to pressure the government to include the GEG provision in the future, Bernama reported.
Former health minister Dzulkefly Ahmad said it would be difficult to cut down the chances of those picking up smoking from 21% to 5% by 2045 without the GEG.
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