PETALING JAYA: Although the Health Ministry has vowed to table the Control of Smoking Products for Public Health Bill by the end of Nov, it is still in a quest for a date to table the longstanding Bill in Parliament.
The ministry was likely to get an update on the date by Friday (Nov 24).
"We will know by Friday," a source close to the development told The Star.
According to the Dewan Rakyat’s calendar, the debate on Budget 2024 was expected to conclude on Nov 27.
After that, the government had three days from Nov 28 to Nov 30 to table and pass Bills before the last meeting for 2023 ends.
The next possible window to table the Bill would be when the Dewan Rakyat meets again in February or March 2024.
On Nov 19, Health Minister Dr Zaliha Mustafa said the government was looking to table the Bill before the end of the current Parliament session.
The current Dewan Rakyat session began on Oct 9 and ends Nov 30.
The Bill was initially slated to be tabled for second reading on Oct 10 but was postponed at the eleventh hour to make way for Budget 2024 and other order of business of the House.
The revised Bill was tabled for first reading in June this year before being sent to the Parliamentary Special Select Committee (PSSC) for further review.
This was not the first time the anti-smoking Bill was sent to the PSSC for a review and fine-tuning.
The original Bill, which was known as the Control of Tobacco Product and Smoking Bill 2022, was first tabled by the then Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin last year.
It was later sent to the committee for fine-tuning due to resistance from several lawmakers. The PSSC released the findings of its review on Oct 9.