Health PSC Seeks To Meet Khairy On Tobacco Bill Recommendations

Dr Kelvin Yii says the health, science and innovation parliamentary committee wants the government to ensure that the proposed tobacco control law doesn’t result in unintended consequences.

KUALA LUMPUR, July 21 – The Dewan Rakyat special select committee on health, science and innovation wants to meet Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin to present its recommendations on the tobacco bill that proposes a generational ban on tobacco and vape.

Members of the bipartisan parliamentary select committee (PSC), which is chaired by Bandar Kuching MP Dr Kelvin Yii from the DAP, held a meeting yesterday to finalise their recommendations for the Tobacco and Smoking Control Bill that has yet to be tabled in the Dewan Rakyat.

“We are supportive of the spirit and principle of the Bill in wanting to uphold the health and well-being of our people, including our future generations.

“However, we want to ensure that certain concerns are addressed, especially on implementation gaps and possible unintended consequences of the Act,” Dr Yii said in a brief statement yesterday.

When contacted, Dr Yii said the PSC plans to publish its recommendations immediately after meeting Khairy.

“We’re asking KJ to see us before any MP briefing,” Dr Yii told CodeBlue. 

Khairy’s office told CodeBlue yesterday that the health minister is still finalising the date to brief MPs on the tobacco bill before tabling it in the Lower House.

CodeBlue’s poll of 40 MPs across the aisle in the 220-member Dewan Rakyat, conducted last Monday and Tuesday, showed that only 12 MPs directly expressed support for the Tobacco and Smoking Control Bill that moots a prohibition on the sale of cigarettes, tobacco and vape to anyone born from 2005, while 26 lawmakers reserved their stance, pending Khairy’s briefing and publication of the draft bill. Two MPs openly said they would not vote in favour.

Among the dozen MPs from PKR, Amanah, and Umno who told CodeBlue that they would vote for the proposed tobacco control legislation include PKR vice president Nurul Izzah Anwar, former health minister Dzulkefly Ahmad from Amanah, and Umno strongman Mohamed Nazri Abdul Aziz.

Various MPs cited multiple concerns with Khairy’s touted “generation end game” to smoking and vaping, such as problems with enforcement, illicit trade, the impact on Malaysia’s local vape industry, and the breach of personal liberties for the next generation.

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