Coffeeshop associations say GEG Bill flawed, call for review

MELAKA: The Malaysia Singapore Coffee Shop Proprietors’ General Association (MSCSPGA) and 44 of its affiliate associations are appealing to review the Generational End Game (GEG) of the Control of Tobacco Products and Smoking Bill 2022 that is expected to be tabled on June 12.

MSCSPGA president Wong Teu Hoon said in a statement on Tuesday (June 6) that the Bill itself was flawed and would not address the core issues relating to smoking.

"All of us had a conference today (June 6) and like to voice out our concern to the Health Ministry and Members of Parliament (MPs) that the tabling of the Bill shouldn’t be rushed as it would do more harm than good as well as defeating the intended objective of reducing the smoking prevalence," he said.

Wong said all of them believed that education was the key to reducing smoking and the government should undertake other tobacco control measures such as expanding non-smoking areas and enforce underage smoking trends as a way forward to avoid causing any unwanted impact to other groups.

He said the MSCSPGA and 44 affiliated associations were also concerned that the smoking ban would only force future smokers to opt for illegal ones that were easily available in the market if it was enforced by targeting those born after 2007.

"Another of our foremost concerns is the enforcement that will fall into the hands of sellers instead, and our operating cost will definitely increase and may even lead to retailers closing shops," he said.

Meanwhile, MSCSPGA’s secretary Datuk Tan Chenn Yeah said a memorandum had been sent to 220 MPs to voice the discontentment of over 20,000 of its members on the Bill.

He said the Bill, if enforced, would bite into their business and 6,000 coffeeshop owners throughout the country were expected to discontinue operations.

"Currently, the sales of legal tobacco products are part of the main revenue for our members and the Bill will impact us badly," he said.

The Bill would be tabled for the first reading in Parliament on June 12.

Health Minister Dr Zaliha Mustafa on Tuesday (June 6) said the "updated" Bill was drafted following numerous engagement sessions with stakeholders, including tobacco industry players.

The Bill would retain the GEG provision, affecting those born on Jan 1, 2007 onwards.

After the Bill is passed, those under the GEG would be prohibited from all types of conventional cigarettes, cigars, loose tobacco and rolled cigarettes.

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