By Shikin Louis
KUCHING, Dec 1: Instead of imposing a blanket ban on Malaysians born after 2007 from buying or consuming nicotine products, the recently enacted smoking law now exclusively prohibits the sale and smoking of tobacco products to individuals below the age of 18.
The passing of the Control of Smoking Products for Public Health Bill 2023 in the Dewan Rakyat on Nov 30, 2023, marks a new milestone for Malaysia as it now has a standalone law to regulate the use of smoking products.
The revised Bill followed the failure of its previous version dubbed as the generational endgame (GEG) bill bearing a significant provision banning those born Jan 1, 2007 onwards from smoking any tobacco or substitute tobacco products, or from using any smoking device with any smoking substance.
It is important to note that the successful passing of the Bill was only because the incumbent Health Minister Dr Zaliha Mustafa had removed the GEG provision from the proposed Bill.
According to a report by the Malay Mail, Dr Zaliha in her winding-up speech, stated that there is an issue with inequality and discrimination with the GEG policy as it would treat those before Jan 1, 2007 differently than those born after that date.
“Hence, the concept of GEG that was desired to be implemented will result in different treatment of two birth groups in different years, it doesn’t matter what year it was set (for).
“The Attorney General (AG) had a view that the provision could be challenged in court for being contradictory with Article 8 of the Federal Constitution,” she explained.
Under the new law, minors who buy tobacco products, smoke substances or substitute tobacco products shall be fined not more than RM500 or be ordered to do community service pursuant to the Criminal Procedure Code or the Child Act 2001. — DayakDaily