KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 22 – Khairy Jamaluddin expects to finalise revisions of the tobacco control bill next week with the parliamentary special select committee (PSSC) in charge of the proposed legislation.
The health minister, who chairs the 13-member bipartisan tobacco bill PSSC, said the committee has met three times, with the fourth meeting to be scheduled next week, just before the start of the upcoming Dewan Rakyat meeting on October 3.
Khairy said that Pakatan Harapan (PH) MPs, during the last parliamentary meeting, were generally in favour of the Control of Tobacco Product and Smoking Bill 2022 that proposes a generational ban on tobacco and vape, or “generational end game” (GEG), for those born from 2007.
“They simply requested for a few amendments to clarify enforcement powers, fine quantums, and the like. I believe that most of these issues have already been resolved in the PSSC,” Berita Harian quoted Khairy as telling the press yesterday.
CodeBlue previously reported that at the PSSC’s September 8 meeting, the committee generally agreed to retain Section 17(1)(a) and (b) of the Control of Tobacco Product and Smoking Bill 2022, but to drop Section 17(1)(c) on the ban of possession of tobacco or vape products for anyone born from January 1, 2007.
Under Section 17(1)(a), individuals born on January 1, 2007, onwards are prohibited from smoking any tobacco product or substitute tobacco product, while Section 17(1)(b) prohibits these people from using any smoking device.
Contraventions are considered an offence, punishable on conviction with a maximum RM5,000 fine under Section 17(2).
Khairy insisted on tabling the controversial tobacco control bill for debate and passage in the upcoming Parliament meeting, amid speculation that Parliament may be dissolved soon after Budget 2023 is tabled on October 7 to pave the way for the 15th general election.
“In the motion that I had proposed and was agreed to by the Dewan Rakyat, the motion states that this bill will be referred to the PSSC and brought to the next meeting. Therefore, the House is tied to that motion,” he said.
“This means that after it is completed by the PSSC, it must be brought back to the upcoming meeting.”
Khairy noted that the tobacco bill PSSC comprises members from major political parties, including Barisan Nasional (BN), Perikatan Nasional (PN), as well as Pejuang.
The only party president on the PSSC is Wilfred Madius Tangau, Tuaran MP and president of the small Sabahan party, Upko. Another PSSC member, Penampang MP Darrell Leiking, is deputy president of Warisan, another Sabah-based party.
Most of the other committee members are not members of their respective party leaderships.
Umno representatives on the tobacco bill PSSC include Umno supreme council members Azalina Othman Said (Pengerang) and Abdul Azeez Rahim (Baling).
The sole DAP representative on the committee is DAP Youth chief Dr Kelvin Yii, while PKR and Amanah are represented by Sungai Buloh MP R. Sivarasa and Kuala Selangor MP Dzulkefly Ahmad respectively.
Other members of the PSSC are Mohd Nizar Zakaria (Parit-Umno), Mas Ermieyati Samsudin (Masjid Tanah-Bersatu), Ahmad Fadhil Shaari (Pasir Mas-PAS), Lukanisman Awang Sauni (Sibuti-GPS), and Mukhriz Mahathir (Jerlun-Pejuang).