KJ: Fight for public health not over after watered down Bill

Concorde Club interview with former health minister Khairy Jamaluddin. — YAP CHEE HONG/The Star

PETALING JAYA: The fight to protect public health in Malaysia is far from over, said Khairy Jamaluddin despite the fact that the generational end-game (GEG) element was dropped from the new Anti-Smoking Bill.

The former Health Minister and architect of the Bill claimed that the tobacco industry had lobbied for the GEG to be dropped.

The Bill, titled Control of Smoking Products for Public Health 2023, was tabled for its first reading in the Dewan Rakyat yesterday without the GEG, which supporters and critics have said is its most contentious but effective component.

The GEG would have banned those born in 2007 and onward from smoking or purchasing smoking products.

“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,” Khairy wrote on his Instagram story.

With the removal of the GEG, the country would miss out on passing “consequential, landmark legislation” for public health, Khairy wrote.

“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,” Khairy wrote.

“So, vape sales will be regulated but we miss out on passing a consequential, landmark legislation for public health.”

The former Rembau MP also dismissed the argument used by the government that the Attorney General’s Chambers considers the GEG to be unconstitutional.

“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.

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