PUTRAJAYA: There is optimism within the Health Ministry that the Tobacco Control Bill – known as the “generational end game” (GEG) law – will be able to see the light of day in the next Parliament session.
Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin said the game-changing Bill has to be tabled in the October parliamentary session by hook or by crook, as it is tied to a motion that he had tabled in the last Dewan Rakyat sitting.
“I tabled a motion for the Bill to be referred to the Parliamentary Special Select Committee (PSSC) so it can be reviewed and then brought to the next session.
“So the Dewan Rakyat is tied to this motion and by all means, the Bill has to be tabled in the next meeting,” said Khairy, at an interview with the media on his one year ministership.
Khairy was asked if there was a chance the tabling of the GEG Bill could be scuppered if Parliament was dissolved abruptly.
Speculation has been rife that Parliament could be dissolved as early as October to pave way for the 15th General Election to be held before the monsoon season begins in November.
This conjecture is further fuelled by the government’s decision to bring forward the October Parliament session date by three weeks to Oct 3.
After two days of fierce debates on the GEG Bill in August, Khairy decided to send the Bill to a vote and instead refer it to a PSSC to be fine-tuned.
A 13-member bipartisan committee was then formed with Khairy as its chairman to discuss the revisions on the proposed Bill before it can be tabled again in October.
Khairy said the PSSC had so far met three times and will have another meeting next week, ahead of the upcoming Dewan Rakyat meeting.
The minister said most issues on the Bill have been sorted out within the PSSC and expressed optimism that it will receive support in the Dewan Rakyat.
“Generally, most of the members of Parliament are in favour of the Bill. In fact, in the letter written by Opposition Leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim to Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob, the former has revealed that all Pakatan Harapan MPs will vote for the Bill.
“The only thing they want is for the several amendments to the proposed Bill be made in which enforcement powers and fines be made clear. I believe all of these have been straightened out in the PSSC,” said Khairy.
Under the GEG Bill, it is proposed that individuals born on Jan 1, 2007 and later should not be allowed to smoke or purchase cigarettes and other tobacco products including vapes.