GEG Bill to be tabled soon, says Dr Zaliha

KUALA LUMPUR: The tabling of the the Tobacco and Smoking Control Bill, or Generational Endgame (GEG) Bill, will be expedited, says Dr Zaliha Mustafa.

The Health Minister said the government was aiming to table the Bill in the Dewan Rakyat as soon as possible.

"The government is aware of the planned vape tax and we are in the midst of expediting the Bill.

"If not during this meeting, it will be at the next one," she told a press conference after attending the Agenda Nasional Malaysia Sihat (ANMS) Cabinet committee meeting in Parliament on Wednesday (March 29).

ALSO READ: Having vape tax without tobacco control law could be disastrous, says NGO grouping

The Malaysian Council for Tobacco Control (MCTC) had opposed the planned tax on all vape products before the Tobacco and Smoking Control Bill became law.

MCTC, which comprises 70 NGOs, professional bodies and medical associations, said the tax would run counter to the government's intention to create a smoke-free generation of Malaysians by 2040.

"The vape tax should only be introduced after the GEG Bill is passed in Parliament and all vape products are regulated," it said in a statement earlier.

Under the Bill, children born in 2007 and subsequent years will be prohibited from smoking, buying or possessing any type of smoking product, including electronic cigarettes or vape products, even after reaching the age of 18.

When tabling the revised Budget 2023 on Feb 24,Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim said nicotine vape liquids are still illegally sold with an estimated RM2bil or more in sales.

ALSO READ: Council: Tax vape products on nicotine content levels

Therefore, the government proposed a tax on nicotine-based products used in electronic cigarettes, with half of the excise duties channelled to the Health Ministry in support of the GEG Bill.

On a separate matter, Zaliha said her ministry was still in discussion with Pfizer Sdn Bhd on the Covid-19 bivalent vaccines.

"God willing, once we have completed (the talks), we will announce when the vaccine will be distributed," she said.

On Jan 2, she was reported as saying that the bivalent vaccines will be supplied to the country soon, following conditional approval by the Drug Control Authority.

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