Coffee shop operators not consulted on GEG bill

KUALA LUMPUR: Coffee shop operators have claimed to be left in the dark over the soon-to-be tabled Control of Tobacco Products and Smoking Bill 2022, which includes the Generational End Game (GEG) policy.

Malaysia Singapore Coffee Shop Proprietors' General Association (MSCSPGA) president Wong Teu Hoon said that the association had yet to be consulted over the matter and no feedback was received after the association shared their concerns to the government.

"We are supportive of the Health Ministry's agenda in reducing the number of smokers in Malaysia.

"All we ask is to be consulted and for our views to be heard.

"In line with Malaysia Madani core values to increase SMEs' (small and medium enterprises) resilience, we hope to be invited to share our opinions," he said in a statement today.

The GEG law was tabled for first and second reading last year.

However, the bill was referred to the Special Select Committee for review and then it was delayed due to the dissolution of Parliament on Oct 10 last year.

The bill is expected to be tabled in the current Dewan Rakyat sitting.

The MSCSPGA has called for the government to conduct proper and thorough engagements with everyone who will be impacted by the GEG bill.

The association hopes a comprehensive consultation, briefing, and impact study should be held with retailers to improve the GEG bill together.

With the GEG bill, he said that the retailers would become the frontliners in implementing the GEG bill, hence he was wondering if the government had allocated adequate resources for the enforcement.

"We have seen similar issues with firework-related enforcement in the recent years and it is a seasonal activity during festive seasons only.

"If this bill is passed, do we have the resources to support the bill or will it fall back to retailer's responsibility?

"Close to 60 per cent of tobacco products in the market today are all illegal and we strongly believe it will worsen the illegal trade in Malaysia if enforcement continues to be an issue," he said.

He also said that the operators were concerned about the penalties listed under GEG.

Under the soon to be tabled bill, if any retailer caught selling cigarettes to a person in the GEG generation, they will be fined minimum RM30,000 or face imprisonment of up to three years or both.

"GEG is not as easy to implement as the minimum age for selling cigarettes or alcohol. This law is different because the GEG generation will get older every year," he said.

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