KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 20 – The Malaysian Medical Association (MMA) today urged the Malaysian government not to accept contributions from entities funded by the tobacco industry.
MMA highlighted the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) decision to reject working with the Foundation for a Smoke-Free World (FSFW), which is funded by tobacco giant Philip Morris International (PMI), after FSFW approached WHO’s executive board for a partnership.
“MMA is also calling on [the] Malaysian government and researchers to reject funding from entities funded by the tobacco industry like FSFW,” MMA president Dr Mohamed Namazie Ibrahim said in a statement.
“We join the WHO in calling on governments and research institutions to shun any prospect of receiving support or research funding from the tobacco industry as well as from those furthering its interests.
“FSFW is entirely funded by PMI which continues to earn billions at the expense of those who fall prey to tobacco addiction,” he added.
Indian news outfit The Wire reported earlier this month that WHO director-general Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus made “strong public comments” about FSFW during a WHO executive board meeting in Geneva.
WHO then tweeted it would not partner the foundation that was reportedly set up in 2017 with US$80 million funding from PMI, maker of Marlboro cigarettes.
Malaysian think tank Institute for Democracy and Economic Affairs (Ideas) was recently embroiled in controversy after UK paper the Guardian revealed that the libertarian outfit, which previously criticised plain packaging for tobacco, received a total of £42,411 from Philip Morris Singapore, Philip Morris Malaysia, and Japan Tobacco International between 2016 and 2017.
Ideas received funding from the British high commission at the same time, which contributed £46,552 (US$60,299) in 2016 and £72,820 (US$94,324) in 2017, even though the UK enacted plain packaging regulations in 2014.