Congrats Big Tobacco, you’ve won but it’s not over, says KJ

PETALING JAYA: The strong lobby by tobacco industry players is the reason the generational end-game (GEG) element in the anti-smoking Bill is dropped, claims Khairy Jamaluddin (pic).

While this is a win for the Big Tobacco and vape industry for the moment, the former health minister said the fight to protect Malaysians’ health was far from over.

Taking to his Instagram, Khairy said the initial Control of Tobacco Product and Smoking Bill 2022 he tabled in the Dewan Rakyat last year had received support from the public health community.

With the removal of the GEG provision in the new Control of Smoking Products for Public Health Bill 2023, Khairy said the country was missing out on passing a “consequential, landmark legislation” for public health.

ALSO READ: GEG element removed from anti-smoking Bill

“Today is a sad day. I crafted the GEG for public health. And the Bill that I brought to Parliament which contained the GEG and measures to regulate vape sales received support from the public health community.

“They had wanted vape to be banned, full stop. But we managed to find a middle ground where we included the GEG provision. Now, that has been dropped.

“So, vape sale will be regulated but we miss on passing a consequential, landmark legislation for public health,” Khairy wrote on his Instagram story on Tuesday (Nov 28).

The former Rembau MP dismissed the argument used by the government put forward by the Attorney General’s Chambers (AGC) which said that the GEG element was unconstitutional.

Khairy had previously said that the GEG Bill was suspended due to political pressure, not legal issues.

ALSO READ: Amended version of anti-smoking Bill to be tabled for first reading in the Dewan Rakyat today

“I have demolished that argument. Anyway, congratulations to Big Tobacco and the vape industry. You have won.

“Don’t even think for a minute that GEG was dropped because of some lame excuse of a legal argument proffered by the AG. Lawyers laugh at that asinine statement.

“No, GEG was dropped because of the strong lobby from Big Tobacco. This is not over. One day, public health will win,” he added.

Earlier on Tuesday (Nov 28), The Star reported that the bill slated to be tabled in the Lower House is an “amended version” which would include tweaks, according to a source within the Health Ministry.

The source said that the GEG element which seeks to ban those born in 2007 and onwards from smoking or purchasing smoking products may be removed from the Bill.

According to the Parliamentary Order Paper, the anti-smoking bill is slated for its first reading on Tuesday.

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