KUALA LUMPUR: Trader associations have urged the government to address concerns related to the proposed tobacco 'generational endgame' (GEG) law, which businesses said could impact the lifeblood and operations of food and beverage outlets in the country.
Malaysian Singapore Coffeeshop Proprietors' General Association (MSCSPGA) president, Wong Teu Hoon, said the association is willing to work with the Parliamentary Special Select Committee (PSSC) which is reviewing the GEG bill, to become a part of the solution.
"We are supportive of the Health Ministry's agenda in reducing the number of smokers in the country.
"However, we strongly believe any new measures should be carefully evaluated when it has a socio-economic impact.
"All we ask is to be consulted, given the chance to communicate and speak to the committee members," he said.
Wong said a comprehensive briefing and consultation should be held with retailers on the impact of the bill, instead of rushing to implement the measures.
"We need to strengthen enforcement on illegal cigarettes and we need to focus on youth awareness instead," he told reporters at a press conference at the association's headquarters in Jalan Pudu on Thursday.
The MSCSPGA, which has 43 affiliates under it, is one of the largest trader associations in the country, boasting a membership of 20,000 coffeeshop operators nationwide, and employing some 500,000 people.
Meanwhile, Malaysian Indian Restaurant Owners Association (PRIMAS) deputy president, C. Krishnan, also echoed Wong's views, adding that to assess the socio-economic impact of the bill, a detailed study and consultation was critical and needs to be conducted by the government and select committee with the retailers and other stakeholders.
He also believed that the ministry does not have enough manpower to control and inspect every tobacco-based product purchase.
"Therefore, we (retailers) automatically become the frontliners in the implementation of the GEG bill.
"Let's not forget the issue of asking for identity cards (MyKad). We are afraid that this will lead to arguments and unpleasant situations in our outlets, which any coffeeshop owner knows is bad for business.