Tiong: KJ’s tobacco generational endgame bill gambles with people’s health

Dato Sri Tiong King Sing. Photo credit: MOTAC

KUCHING, Nov 19: Former health minister Khairy Jamaluddin was gambling with the people’s health by selectively using foreign sources as the basis for his version of Generational End Game (GEG) Bill, says Federal Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture (MOTAC) Dato Sri Tiong King Sing.

He said Khairy’s bill seemed to selectively extract content from foreign sources without careful verification of established data just to fit in his narrative of “all cancers are caused by smoking”, simply to rationalise his advocacy for GEG as his ‘political magnum opus’.

“Such reckless acts of ego are not only extremely risky but also gamble with the health of an entire nation’s citizens,” Tiong said in a statement yesterday (Nov 18).

He further said Khairy should have stuck to existing procedures, including utilising the substantial funds allocated to the Ministry of Health (MOH) annually for research in this area in order to achieve his GEG goal.

“This would enable him to present solid evidence to convince various stakeholders of his proposals, rather than hastily seek glory while inviting unnecessary controversies and disagreements,” he added.

On Khairy’s recent criticism that Tiong appeared to lack knowledge regarding the link between smoking and cancer, Tiong clarified that he never denied the harmful effects of smoking but rather was pointing out that smoking is not the cause of all cancers.

“Some people smoke all year round and still live a long life; some people do not smoke or drink and rarely go out, especially among the housewives I know, there are many who suffer from cancer at a young age. How to explain this?

“Up until now, Khairy has been unable to provide satisfactory answers to my questions, including whether factors other than smoking behaviour in human surroundings can lead to cancer, such as processed foods?

“Is smoking really the only factor related to all cancers, or does it only constitute a small part, while Khairy, for the sake of his own hidden agenda, chooses to emphasise it repeatedly, neglecting other sources of carcinogens?” Tiong said.

Recently, Khairy took to a series of Instagram stories, which among others, questioned Tiong’s competence as a cabinet member for contradicting opinions on the link between smoking and cancer.

This came following Tiong’s recent remarks blasting Khairy’s proposed Bill as lacking a solid basis for defence due to the former health minister allegedly consistently failing to prove that smoking habits cause cancer, as well as blaming other ministers for the Bill’s failure. – DayakDaily