Monday 22 Apr 2024
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KUALA LUMPUR (Nov 28): Health Minister Dr Zaliha Mustafa tabled the revised Control of Smoking Products for Public Health Bill 2023 for its first reading in the Dewan Rakyat on Tuesday but without the generational endgame (GEG) component.

It was among the notable revisions to the bill, which initially sought to prohibit individuals born from 2007 onwards from smoking or purchasing smoking products.

Instead, Clause 13(1) of the revised bill now prohibits the sale of any tobacco, smoking substance, or substitute tobacco product, as well as the provision of any services for smoking, to individuals under the age of 18.

For the first offence, individuals contravening Clause 13(1) may face a fine of up to RM20,000, imprisonment for up to one year, or both. Corporate entities facing the same contravention may be fined between RM20,000 and RM100,000, imprisoned for up to two years, or both.

Clause 13(3) additionally states that minors are prohibited from purchasing tobacco products, smoking substances, or substitute tobacco products, while Clause 17(1) of the bill prohibits minors from smoking, chewing, or using any tobacco product or smoking any substitute tobacco product.

Zaliha said the bill would  be tabled for the second reading on Wednesday (Nov 29).

Previously, she had retracted the original version of the bill, which was tabled in June.

Tuesday's tabling marks the Health Ministry's third attempt to legislate the tobacco bill.

The first version of the tobacco GEG law was tabled in the Dewan Rakyat in July 2022 by then health minister Khairy Jamaluddin, and was aimed at prohibiting the sale to and use of conventional tobacco products by those born on or after Jan 1, 2007. However, it was referred to the Parliamentary Special Select Committee for review after two days of debate, which drew a number of complaints and suggestions from Members of Parliament.

After the unity government took control of Putrajaya, Zaliha tabled the second version of the bill on June 12, 2023.

Under the second revision, fines for conventional cigarette buyers born after Jan 1, 2007, were reduced to RM500 from RM5,000 previously, and community service was introduced, while maintaining no prison sentences for offenders. The revision also removed provisions against the ownership of tobacco, rendering the issue of body searches by enforcement agencies no longer applicable.

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