PUTRAJAYA: The upcoming 10th Conference of the Parties (COP10) on tobacco control will provide a platform for countries like Malaysia to gain support for its anti-smoking legislative initiative, says Dr Zaliha Mustafa.
The Health Minister said the ministry is fully committed to ensuring a healthier future for all Malaysians through collaboration with various international partners, including the World Health Organisation (WHO).
“Our commitment to support the WHO’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) agenda is unwavering. We understand that this convention is not just a legal framework; it is a pledge to safeguard the health and well-being of our people, and it transcends borders and boundaries.
“It is a collective commitment to protect the present and future generations from the harms of tobacco.
“As we strive to create a healthier Malaysia for our citizens, we recognise that effective tobacco control measures are instrumental in reducing the burden of tobacco-related diseases and safeguarding public health,” she said yesterday.
Dr Zaliha had earlier launched “The Preparatory Meeting for the COP10 to the WHO FCTC and the Third Session of the Meeting of the Parties to the Protocol to Eliminate Illicit Trade in Tobacco Product” held here.
The meeting was attended by delegates from the member states of Western Pacific Regions as well as representatives from WHO.
“I would also like to express our sincere appreciation for the opportunity given to Malaysia to host this vital preparatory meeting as one of commitment to the cause of tobacco control so that we can pave the way for meaningful discussions and actions during COP10,” Dr Zaliha added.
COP10 will take place in Panama City, Panama in November where parties will gather to make decisions to further protect the people against the effects of tobacco.
“As we gather here today, let us reflect on the importance of the WHO FCTC and the role it plays in guiding and coordinating international efforts to reduce the devastating impact of tobacco on individuals and communities.
“This region, the Western Pacific, has been at the forefront of these efforts, setting an example for the world to follow,” she said.
Dr Zaliha in her speech also said her ministry is set to table the Control of Smoking Product for Public Health Bill 2023 for its second reading in the Dewan Rakyat in October.
“This significant legislative initiative, led by the Health Ministry, is designed to establish a comprehensive framework for the regulation of smoking products within our nation,” she added.
The Bill was tabled for its first reading in the Dewan Rakyat on June 12 and was referred to the Parliament Special Select Committee on Health for further fine-tuning.
It was first tabled by then Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin last year and had been sent to the committee then for fine-tuning due to resistance from several lawmakers.