MPs call for further scrutiny of GEG Bill before tabling

KUALA LUMPUR: The Control of Tobacco Product and Smoking Bill 2022, also known as the 'generational endgame' bill, warrants further review, deliberation and engagement.

Several members of parliament (MP), in calling for the move, said more amendments are also needed for the bill, which aims to stamp out the smoking habit among the younger generation.

Bakri MP Yeo Bee Yin said the amended bill, which will be tabled at the Dewan Rakyat in October, should not be punitive to smokers.

"Firstly, it should not be punitive to smokers and you should not punish those who sell cigarettes. Secondly, there is a lot of power accorded to enforcement officers.

"We have talked and focused on many issues in the last parliament sitting, but these are the two important issues that I will be looking at once the amended bill is tabled," she told the New Straits Times.

Previously, Yeo had urged the bill to be sent to three parliamentary special select committees (PSSC), namely the Health, Science and Innovation committee, Women, Children and Social Development committee and the Fundamental Liberty and Constitutional Right committee for further deliberation with various stakeholders.

She had also called for the Health Ministry to conduct a comprehensive regulatory impact assessment on the bill and table the report in the Dewan Rakyat.

Last month, Yeo also made a detailed comparison between the Health Ministry's proposed GEG bill to that in New Zealand.

Based on her comparison, it showed that New Zealand only allowed enforcement officers to enter non-residential premises for investigations and requires them to obtain a warrant before carrying out other enforcement actions.

The GEG bill in Malaysia, however, proposed to grant enforcement officers the powers to enter any premises, seize baggage, stop, search and seize conveyance as well as powers to search and seize without a warrant, including a body search by officers of the same gender.

Bintulu MP Datuk Seri Tiong King Sing, meanwhile, maintained his opposition to the bill despite several amendments set to be tabled in Parliament next month.

"I will not agree no matter how much it is changed. I believe we should be sincere in showing our cards to the people, we should not hide.

"The whole bill should be disclosed for the public to see and judge," he said.

He added that the reduction of the fine to RM500 from the initial fine of RM5,000 is still costly, considering the high cost of living and the unstable economic situation in the country.

On July 27, Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin tabled the GEG bill for its first reading, with the second reading taking place on Aug 1.

On Aug 2, the Dewan Rakyat agreed that the bill will be referred to the PSSC to examine and make recommendations for improvement following concerns raised by several MPs, who had stated that the ban could limit freedom of choice.

The PSCC, comprising 12 MPs from the government and opposition blocs, include Baling MP Datuk Seri Abdul Azeez Abdul Rahim; Datuk Mohd Nizar Zakaria (Parit); Datuk Seri Azalina Othman Said (Pengerang); Datuk Mas Ermieyati Samsudin (Masjid Tanah) and Ahmad Fadhli Shaari (Pasir Mas).

The others are Sibuti MP Lukanisman Awang Sauni; Dr Kelvin Yii Lee Wuen (Bandar Kuching); R. Sivarasa (Sungai Buloh); Datuk Seri Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad (Kuala Selangor); Datuk Seri Madius Tangau (Tuaran); Datuk Ignatius Darell Leiking (Penampang) and Datuk Seri Mukhriz Mahathir (Jerlun).

Most Popular
Related Article
Says Stories