Fine-tuned version set to be better with more bite

PETALING JAYA: As the proposed generational end game (GEG) law goes back to the drawing board, a key MP says the Bill will be back as a “good law” that will address all concerns.

Health associations also agree that a review of the Tobacco and Smoking Control Bill will be for the better, although some are fearful that the legislation might never see the light of day.

Bandar Kuching MP Dr Kelvin Yii, who chairs the Parliamentary Special Select Committee (PSSC) on health, said the postponement of the Bill would not affect the timeline for implementation of the GEG, as it has been agreed that the tobacco ban would be delayed for two years.

“What is more important is to make sure we come out with a ‘good law’ and get the proper buy-in to increase compliance and ensure it achieves its intended target.

“As MPs, it is our responsibility to look at the Bill at all angles. This is not an attempt to simply delay the Bill but to ensure we come up with a better one to ensure it achieves its target without any unintended consequences,” said Dr Yii in a statement.

The DAP Youth chief said that among the concerns of the Bill that needs to be addressed include the overreaching powers of enforcement officers.

Malaysian Medical Association president Dr Koh Kar Chai also believed concerns by all parties had to be addressed first.

He said the Bill needed to be fine-tuned to ensure smooth implementation.

“Although we would have liked to see the Bill voted on now, we see this next stage as a positive step to improve the GEG.

“It is good that all these concerns be addressed before the Bill goes to a vote,” said Dr Koh.

Southeast Asia Tobacco Control Alliance senior policy adviser Dr Mary Assunta said Malaysia had foregone an opportunity to better protect young people by postponing the Bill.

“The Health Minister proposed a pro-child, pro-health, pro-future Bill which would have broken the nicotine addiction cycle.

“A postponed Bill means delaying action to better protect children,” she said.

After two days of debate, the Health Ministry tabled a motion to refer the GEG Bill to a PSSC for the proposed legislation to be fine-tuned.

Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin said the 13-member committee to be chaired by him will address concerns on enforcement methods of the tobacco ban, as well as other recommendations proposed by MPs during the debates.

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