Major changes recommended to GEG Bill ahead of Oct 6 tabling


KUALA LUMPUR: The Special Parliamentary Select Committee (PSSC) has recommended several major changes to the Generational End Game (GEG) Bill scheduled to be tabled in Dewan Rakyat on Thursday (Oct 6).

Among them is the removal of the proposed clause to make it an offence for those born after Jan 1, 2007 to be in possession of cigarettes or related tobacco products.

ALSO READ: GEG Bill not out to 'criminalise' children, says Khairy

Also taken away is the power for authorities to enter into private homes to enforce the proposed law.

However, it would still be an offence for youths born after the period to be caught smoking cigarettes or vaping.

The PSSP was set up on Aug 2 to further scrutinise the proposed Tobacco and Smoking Control Bill (GEG) which was tabled by Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin in Dewan Rakyat on July 27.

ALSO READ: Businesses to pen input on GEG Bill to PM

The Bill seeks to ban the use, possession and sale of cigarettes and vape products to those born after 2007.

However, no vote was taken on the Bill during the second reading on Aug 2 with a motion passed instead to refer the matter to a bi-partisan PSSC.

This was done following resistance towards certain aspects of the proposed law from several quarters including Members of Parliament from both sides of the political divide.

ALSO READ: Govt urged to have more discussions with stakeholders over GEG Bill

The PSSC held a total of five meetings since Aug 19 and had called up MPs, and experts in the relevant fields to give their views on the matter.

Meanwhile, the PSSC also recommended that enforcement of the proposed law is deferred for a period of three years to allow for education and awareness programmes to be first put in place.

As for penalties, the PSSC agreed with views that the initially proposed fine of RM5,000 is reduced to RM500.

ALSO READ: Legal perils of the Control of Tobacco Product and Smoking Bill 2022

The committee also recommended that a clause is also included to make community service a punishment for offenders.

The PSSC also agreed with the Attorney General's Chambers that those penalised under the GEG will not be subject to a criminal record or a non-registrability of smoking offence.

The committee also agreed with legal experts that the GEG was not against the Federal Constitution with regard to the definition of one's right to exercise personal liberties.

ALSO READ: Youth and Sports Ministry supports generational endgame anti-smoking Bill

On Tuesday (Oct 4), Khairy said that the GEG Bill will be tabled in Parliament on Thursday. (Oct 6).

He said the Bill could be passed by Dewan Rakyat on Thursday (Oct 6) or after the Budget 2023 debate.

However, he said it was uncertain if the Bill would be tabled in Dewan Negara if the Parliament is dissolved.

ALSO READ: International anti-tobacco groups laud Malaysia’s GEG Bill

He noted that like other Bills that do not make it to Dewan Negara if Parliament is dissolved, it has to be tabled again in Dewan Rakyat by the new government.

Dewan Rakyat's meeting is scheduled to end on Nov 29 while Dewan Negara will meet from Nov 21 to Dec 7.

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