KUALA LUMPUR: The government has decided to defer the tabling of the Poisons (Amendment) Bill 2019 for its second reading to next year, says Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad (pic).
The Bill, which was listed as the first item on Parliament's Order Paper, was up for its second reading and debate before on Thursday (Dec 5).
Dr Zulkefly however, said the second reading would be postponed to the next Parliament meeting in March next year.
When met at the Parliament lobby, Dr Zulkefly said that the second reading of the Bill was postponed to allow more input for improvements.
He said that he will be holding an engagement session with the relevant stakeholders for their views.
The Bill was tabled in Parliament on Nov 25 for its first reading but drew flak from various national medical and dental organisations.
The Malaysian Medical Association (MMA) had objected to the proposed amendments that would jail private doctors who refused to give prescriptions upon request by patients.
The proposed amendment sought to penalise private doctors, dental surgeons, and veterinarians with a maximum fine of up to RM50,0000 or five year's imprisonment, or both, should they refuse to provide prescription slips upon request by patients.
MMA was also against the amendment to include the use of an e-prescription signed with a digital signature in the absence of safeguard measures for patients.
The amendments would also permit any civil servant or officer of a statutory body to grow ketum for research, education and medicinal purposes.
However, the planting of the ketum plant is subject to conditions including obtaining a letter of approval from the Health Minister.