Govt denies involvement in missing tobacco article, 13/10/09

The government has denied any involvement in the striking off of a contentious sub-article on tobacco in the recently endorsed health law, deemed an effort to protect the country’s cigarette industry.

State Secretary Hatta Radjasa said Tuesday the law, passed by the House of Representatives last month, was already missing the sub-article when his office received it.

He said he had contacted the Health Ministry and the Justice and Human Rights Ministry to settle the problem, and that the State Secretariat now had a complete version of the law, including the missing sub-article, to be signed by the President.

“The House of Representatives’ secretariat is lying if it said it received the law without the sub-article from the State Secretariat. That’s not how we send bills to the House,” Hatta said at a press conference.

“The way it works is, the State Secretariat receives endorsed bills signed by the House speaker to be submitted to the President. Then we do a check to see if the document is in line with agreements reached by the government and the House.”

A bill only becomes law once the president has signed it.

The initial health law, said Hatta, only had two sub-articles under Article 113. In an appendix, however, the article, which specifies regulation of additive substances, consists of three sub-articles.

The missing sub-article reads, “Additive substances as mentioned in sub-article (1) cover tobacco; tobacco-containing products; solid, liquid and gas additives whose uses can harm oneself and or their surroundings.”

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