KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 7 – The Finance Ministry announced yesterday that it is working to ratify a World Health Organization (WHO) agreement against illicit tobacco, even as two-thirds of cigarettes consumed in Malaysia are illegal.
“The ministry is in the final stages of discussion with WHO and is currently discussing on what is the criteria that needs to be implemented following ratification,” Deputy Finance Minister Amiruddin Hamzah said in a Parliament reply yesterday to Bagan Serai MP Dr Noor Azmi Ghazali.
The ministry expects a session will be held by the end of this month and following this, it will introduce the paper in Cabinet for approval or rejection.
The Protocol to Eliminate Illicit Trade in Tobacco Products is a 2012 treaty under the WHO’s Framework Convention of Tobacco Control (FCTC) designed to combat the worldwide illegal tobacco trade.
The Protocol contains provisions which require a ratifying state to take a variety of measures regarding the tobacco trade, including licensing; tracking and tracing; record-keeping; monitoring and regulating online sales; international transit; and duty-free sales.
Amiruddin also said that the Ministry of Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs has released a guideline for the production, distribution and sale of vaping devices and e-liquids without nicotine.
Tobacco company JTI Malaysia said last Tuesday that Malaysia’s illegal cigarette incidence has increased to about 65 per cent as of last August, the largest in the world.