GEG dropped due to constitutionality issue, not pressure from lobbyists, Dr Dzul tells Parliament

KUALA LUMPUR: Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad denies his Deputy's statement on lobbyists influencing the government's move to drop the Generational Endgame (GEG) provision from the anti-smoking bill last year.

He emphasised that the dismissal of the GEG provision was due to a constitutionality issue, not industry pressure.

He said that while it was democratically right for lobbyists to hold engagements with MPs, the point that was raised by Deputy Health Minister Lukanisman Awang claiming it influenced the government and the Cabinet was incorrect.

“After looking at the Hansard and (getting) an explanation from the Deputy Health Minister (Lukanisman Awang), I found out that it was Kapar MP (Dr Halimah Ali) who had mentioned issues of industry and lobbyists.

“However, the point that was raised, saying the influence was extended – by lobbyists – to the government and the Cabinet, was factually incorrect,” he said in the Dewan Rakyat on Wednesday (March 20).

Dr Dzulkefly said during his ministry’s assembly earlier Wednesday (March 20), he said that the claims made were “regrettable”.

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“We wanted the GEG (provision) to be included (in the Act), however, an issue on constitutionality was raised by the Attorney General’s Chambers (AGC).

“That was the only reason why we dropped GEG from the proposed Act (last year),” he said, responding to Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman (Muda-Muar) on Wednesday.

Syed Saddiq had earlier asked the minister to clarify the real reason behind the government's decision to drop the GEG provision from the Control of Smoking Products for Public Health Act 2024 last year.

“It was just that and it has nothing to do with lobbyists as what was assumed or perceived out there,” he added.

Last week, Lukanisman, when asked by Dr Halimah on the possibility of industry pressure on the government's decision to drop GEG provision, said: “On pressure from the industry – we need support from all quarters. If we look at our experience when we tabled GEG, a conflict of views arose due to industry pressure.

The industry entered Parliament, and the industry met with MPs, which influenced the decision.”

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