KUALA LUMPUR: MPs are not bound by the views of those lobbying against the proposed generational endgame law to prohibit smoking among youths, says Dr Kelvin Yii Lee Wuen.
"The Bill is crucial as the law will impact everyone.
"For me, anyone can submit their views or recommendations but we as MPs are not bound by their views," Dr Yii said at a press conference in Parliament's media centre on Thursday (July 28).
He was asked to comment on talk that representatives from major tobacco houses had met with Opposition chief Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim on the sidelines of the Dewan Rakyat proceedings on Wednesday. (July 27)
The meeting is believed to have taken place on the same day when Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin tabled the Tobacco and Smoking Control Bill 2022 for its first reading.
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Khairy had retweeted a Twitter post claimed that tobacco lobbyists had met with Anwar in the Parliament lobby.
The proposed law is expected to be passed this current Dewan Rakyat meeting which ends on Aug 4.
Under the proposed Bill, children born from Jan 1, 2007 onwards, are prohibited from smoking, buying or possessing any type of smoking products, including electronic cigarettes or vape products, even after reaching the age of 18.
Those flouting the law may be punished with a maximum fine of RM5,000.
Yii, who heads the Parliamentary Special Select Committee (PSSC) on Health, Science and Innovation, said he could not confirm if such a meeting had taken place.
"I can't answer on that but they (lobbyists) did not meet me personally in Parliament.
"But the PSSC has met them offcially," he said.
He said that PSSC had met representatives from the tobacco and vape industries, health experts and non-governmental organisations during the course of their official proceedings to get feedback on the proposed anti smoking law.
Meanwhile, Dr Yii, who is Bandar Kuching MP, said the PSSC has submitted several recommendations to Khairy on the Bill.
He said the PSSC was against the offence which carries a maximum fine of RM5,000 fine against youths who are nabbed smoking.
"The PSSP strongly recommends that the punishment imposed on juveniles does not involve imprisonment and that the offence is not recorded in any existing system.
"Which means no criminalisation for our youth for possession," he said.
He suggested community service orders and counselling as more appropriate penalties for juvenile offenders.
Among the other recommendations of the PSSC was that the law applied to those born after 2008.
Also that a transparent evaluation of the effectiveness of the law is carried out before the implementation of the law in 2025.
Dr Yii said the evaluation report should be brought to the bi-partisan PSSC and tabled in Parliament.