KUALA LUMPUR: The Hartal Doktor Kontrak (HDK) movement has called on the government to speed up the approval of the Control of Smoking Product for Public Health Bill 2023.
HDK said the bill is the nation's lifeline to a healthier future and emphasised the bill shall be prioritised over industry interests.
"We do not ask; we demand. Members of parliament and the Health Ministry, there is no room for complacency. Expedite the passage of this vital bill through the Dewan Negara, Dewan Rakyat, and seal it with the Royal Assent of the Agong.
"It targets the post-2007 generation, aiming to break the chains of addiction and secure the health of those yet to come," said HDK in a statement today.
HDK said smoking and vaping are claiming lives and plunging our healthcare system into an abyss of preventable illnesses.
"Tobacco-related illnesses snatch over 20,000 lives from our grasp every year in Malaysia. The vaping epidemic is equally dire, addicting our youth to nicotine and exposing them to a hazardous path."
"Billions of ringgits are haemorrhaged annually in healthcare costs, all tied to the grip of smoking and vaping-related ailments.
"This is not just a health crisis; it's an economic disaster," said HDK.
The Control of Smoking Product for Public Health Bill 2023, which includes the generational end game (GEG) smoking ban provision, was referred to the Parliamentary Special Committee (PSSC) following its first reading in the House last June.
Codeblue reported that the revised bill is expected to be presented at a cabinet meeting today and brought to the Dewan Rakyat next Monday.
The source told the health news portal that the amended bill reduces the fine amount for GEG offenders to less than RM500 while still offering the option of community service, with no criminal record but rather summons issued.
Health PSSC chairperson Datuk Seri Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad previously said the PSSC had worked together with experts in revising the bill with a "non-punitive and protective-preventive" paradigm for the GEG.