GEG bill suspended due to political pressure, not legal issues, says KJ

KUALA LUMPUR: Former Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin said the suspension of the Control of Smoking Products for Public Health Bill 2023, commonly referred to as the generational endgame bill, was due to political pressure rather than legal concerns about its constitutionality.

In the latest episode of Keluar Sekejap podcast, Khairy questioned why the current bill, which closely resembled the one he had previously introduced, was suddenly considered unconstitutional by Attorney-General Datuk Ahmad Terrirudin Salleh, despite previous legal opinions suggesting otherwise.

"I'm not sure where the AG's consistency as a legal advisor to the government is, as we have already studied this bill," said Khairy in the podcast.

Legal experts, Khairy noted, had previously endorsed the bill, contending that as long as there was no discrimination within a specified segment of the population, the law would not be deemed unconstitutional.

"They say that as long as there is no discrimination within a certain designated class of people…so those born after 2007 (would be considered) one class of people, and among that group there is equality under the law, it's not unconstitutional.

"If the Cabinet uses the reason that (the bill) violates the constitution, I think it is not a stand that has a legal basis but has more to do with political pressure."

The bill aims to prohibit smoking among individuals born after 2007 and restrict the sale of tobacco and vape products to this age gorup.

In response to reports that the AG found the age provision in the bill to be unconstitutional, Khairy accused two unnamed ministers and their leader of contributing to setbacks in the bill.

Last week, the government announced a reexamination of the bill in light of these constitutional concerns raised by the AG.

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