KUALA LUMPUR: The latest and third version of the Control of Smoking Products for Public Health Bill 2023, which saw the specific provision dubbed the generational end game (GEG) removed, is a let down.
Former health minister Khairy Jamaluddin, who had been instrumental in bringing about the GEG bill, took to Instagram venting out his frustration following the tabling of the bill for first reading in the Dewan Rakyat today.
"Today is a sad day. I crafted the GEG for public health.
"And the bill that I brought to parliament, which contained the GEG and measures to regulate vape sale received support from the public health community.
"They had wanted vape to be banned, full stop," he wrote in his story on Instagram.
Khairy, said a middle ground was found, which saw the inclusion of the GEG provision into the proposed law.
While the vape sale would be regulated, he said Malaysia had missed on passing the consequential, landmark legislation for public health.
"The Cabinet is using the argument put forward by the Attorney-General (A-G) that GEG is unconstitutional.
"I have demolished the argument.
"Anyway, congratulations to big tobacco and the vape industry. You have won."
There were previously concerns that the earlier version of the bill, if passed, would invite lawsuits due to infringement of freedom of choice.
Consumers' Association of Penang (CAP) education officer N.V. Subbarow said the public waited in anticipation for the new law aimed at "saving future generations" through the provision to prohibit Malaysians born after 2007 from buying or consuming nicotine products.
"Why worry if the previous bill can be challenged in court?
"Any bill can be challenged but why is the A-G highly concerned about lawsuits?," he said when contacted.
According to Subbarow, CAP's survey and observation also revealed that vaping and e-cigarette use were growing day by day, with students obtaining the alternative tobacco products online.
He urged the government to re-include the GEG provision in the bill.
"Millions of Malaysians said yes to GEG. It's the duty of the Madani government to provide a healthy lifestyle to our children and youths," he added.