GEG Bill to be re-tabled today

KUALA LUMPUR: The Special Parliamentary Select Committee has recommended several major changes to the generational end game Bill that is scheduled to be tabled in the Dewan Rakyat today.

These include the removal of clauses to make it an offence for those born after Jan 1, 2007, to be in possession of cigarettes or related tobacco products, along with the power for authorities to enter private homes to enforce this law.

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

The Bill, formally known as the Control of Tobacco Products and Smoking Bill 2022, was initially tabled by Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin in the Dewan Rakyat on July 27.

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 bipartisan Parliamentary Special Select Committee (PSSC).

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

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

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

The PSSC agreed with the views that the initially proposed fine of RM5,000 be reduced to RM500, and also recommended that a clause be inserted to include community service as a punishment for offenders.

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

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

On Tuesday, Khairy said that the Bill will be tabled in Parliament on Oct 6 and could be passed by the Dewan Rakyat after the Budget 2023 debate.

However, the Health Minister said it was uncertain if the Bill would be tabled in Dewan Negara if Parliament was dissolved in the near future.

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

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

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