Newly appointed Health Minister apologises for GEG exclusion from anti-smoking bill [NSTTV]

KUALA LUMPUR: Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad today apologised to the Dewan Negara for the exclusion of the tobacco and vape generational endgame (GEG) provision in the Public Health Tobacco Control Bill 2023.

While presenting the bill for approval in the Dewan Negara, Dr Dzulkefly acknowledged public concerns about the exemption of the GEG provision, which prohibits the sale of tobacco and vape products to individuals born after 2007.

According to Dr Dzulkefly, the bill had been drafted by several health ministers before finally being passed in the Dewan Rakyat on November 30.

He noted that 18 engagement sessions with stakeholders and three roundtable discussions had taken place before the bill was finalised.

"However, human plans, and Allah decides, and fate has placed us here today, where you cannot see or read the GEG provisions in this bill. I apologise sincerely, as I should to everyone, and I present it without diminishing the importance for all members to collectively approve this bill. It has been worked on for too long," he said in today's Dewan Negara session.

In an effort to reduce the harm caused by smoking, the landmark 2023 Control of Smoking Products for Public Health Bill was passed in the Dewan Rakyat recently.

However, the Bill sparked a controversial debate when critics argued that it may not be effective in achieving their intended goals.

Among the key issues raised was GEG, which prohibits Malaysians born from January 1, 2007, onwards from consuming or buying any type of smoking products, which was removed from the Bill.

On November 30, the Dewan Rakyat gave its nod of approval to the 2023 Control of Smoking Products for Public Health, after two days of debate. Then Health Minister Dr Zaliha Mustafa tabled the Bill for the third and final reading, which was then unanimously approved by the lawmakers via voice vote.

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