24 May 2023
KUALA LUMPUR: The Malaysian Green Lung Association wants the government to fulfil its promise to table the Control of Tobacco Products and Smoking Bill 2022, which includes the Generational End Game (GEG) policy, by next month.
The association, in a statement, said it fully supported the government’s efforts to table the bill by this month, or at the latest by next month, as announced by Health Minister Dr Zaliha Mustafa on May 19.
“The tabling of this bill is important to overcome the problem of the use of smoking products, especially electronic cigarettes or vaping, in the community.
“The health minister has promised Malaysians several times in the media that the ministry will table the bill, along with the GEG provisions.
“The month of May is coming to an end. When will the government keep its promise?”
The association said the state elections should not be used as an excuse to delay the tabling and approval of the bill.
“If the government is worried that the bill will offend voters, (it should refer to) public surveys conducted by the media and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) which showed an overwhelming support of 97 per cent for the implementation of the bill and GEG, including from smokers and vape users.
“Nicotine addiction is an urgent issue. The delay in passing this bill not only has great implications on the health and wellbeing of Malaysians but also the livelihood and quality of the lives of the people in the long term.”
The association added that the findings of the 2022 National Health and Morbidity Survey (NHMS) and data from other surveys had given sufficient warning.
“What is delaying the ministry from implementing control over vaping and electronic cigarettes? The people and parents expect the Health Ministry to protect the health of their children.”
The association’s sentiment was echoed by expert Professor Dr Mohamad Haniki Nik Mohamed, who said the delay would make it difficult for the country to seriously manage matters regarding public health, especially those that affected the younger generation.
“The tabling of the bill is important in overcoming the problem of the use of electronic cigarettes or vaping among adolescents and students.
“Do we want to make the tabling of the bill into a soap opera, where we have to wait for a long episode to find out its ending?
“Soon, the state elections will be used as a reason to postpone the tabling of the bill again. To the members of parliament, I would say, think about your responsibilities. You were elected and you will be the ones to answer.”
The Control of Tobacco Products and Smoking Bill was tabled for the first and second readings at the Third Meeting of the Fifth Term of the 14th Dewan Rakyat session in August last year.
However, the bill was referred to the Special Select Committee for review.
The tabling of the bill was delayed due to the dissolution of Parliament on Oct 10.
The current Dewan Rakyat sitting is scheduled for 11 days, from May 22 to 25 and from June 6 to 15.