KUALA LUMPUR, July 14 – Cabinet has authorised Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin’s controversial Tobacco and Smoking Control Bill that touts a ban on smoking and vaping for future generations.
Cabinet’s approval means that the bill is likely to be tabled in the upcoming Dewan Rakyat meeting that starts next Monday, although it remains to be seen if Khairy will succeed in getting support from Members of Parliament across the aisle with the government’s slim majority in the Lower House.
“The bill was approved by Cabinet yesterday, so I will send it to Parliament for this session,” Khairy told reporters after launching a study by The Centre, a think tank, on drugs here today.
The Tobacco and Smoking Control Bill was not listed on the Dewan Rakyat’s order paper for next Monday’s sitting.
Most MPs have not stated their stand on Khairy’s touted “generation end game” to smoking and vaping since the health minister publicly announced last January in Geneva, Switzerland, his plans to prohibit the sale of cigarettes and tobacco to anyone born from 2005, who would not be permitted to ever legally buy such products, including vape, in their lifetime.
Muar MP Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman – who heads Muda, a progressive party that represents young people – has indicated that he may not vote for the tobacco bill.
The 29-year-old lawmaker told CodeBlue that he had three concerns with the proposed cohort ban on smoking and vaping: the impact on small retailers, removal of personal liberties and a slippery slope to racially charged calls for the ban of other products, and higher illicit cigarette trade.
CodeBlue understands that the bipartisan Dewan Rakyat special select committee on health, science and innovation, chaired by Bandar Kuching MP Dr Kelvin Yii, is currently finalising its recommendations on the tobacco bill, after multiple stakeholder engagements with medical experts, civil society, and representatives from the tobacco and vaping industries.