Khairy okays recommendations for amendments to GEG bill

KUALA LUMPUR: Those born in 2007 and onwards will not be punished for having tobacco and vape products under the Control of Tobacco Product and Smoking Bill.

This was among the four amendments that Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin has agreed to make to the tobacco generational endgame (GEG) bill.

Khairy made the announcement after meeting the Parliamentary Special Select Committee (PSSC) on Women, Children and Social Development as well as the PSSC of Health, Science and Innovation chairman Dr Kelvin Yii today.

Khairy also agreed to reduce the standard fines for GEG offenders from RM5,000 to RM500 and include community service as an option in lieu of a fine, as mandated by the court.

He also assured that enforcement officers would not conduct body searches for anyone under the age of 18.

"With these concessions, the majority of recommendations by both PSCs has been incorporated as amendments into the bill," he tweeted today.

The bill, which was tabled on July 27, among others, seeks to ban those born 2007 onwards from smoking, buying or having tobacco and vaping products.

However, several parliamentarians have raised concerns on the wide-ranging powers that the legislation confers on enforcement officers.

The PSC on Women, Children and Social Development questioned certain provisions in the bill that allowed the health minister to appoint anyone as enforcement officers.

The committee said trained enforcement officers were needed to ensure they were aware of the sensitivities when dealing with children and minors.

The committee also said it wanted to evaluate whether the bill was in line with the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.

Meanwhile, the PSC on Health, Science and Innovation stressed that juvenile offenders should not be sent to jail or have their offences recorded in existing systems.

The committee also called on the ministry to postpone the implementation of GEG by three years.

Earlier today, Bakri member of parliament Yeo Bee Yin also urged the government to conduct a Regulatory Impact Assessment on the bill and present the report in Dewan Rakyat.

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