Anti-smoking bill more meaningful with GEG provisions

LETTERS: THE Control of Smoking Products for Public Health Bill 2023 was passed in the Dewan Rakyat on Nov 30 this year through a majority voice vote.

It was approved despite criticisms during the debate session, with the bulk of discontent focused on the omission of the Generational Endgame (GEG) policy initiated by the previous government.

Though GEG might be considered again in the future, there is no certainty despite the assurance given on the matter. If we are serious, we need to take the necessary steps to implement it.

Smokers cannot use human rights as an excuse or shield to deny any efforts taken by the government to control and eradicate the smoking habit among the people.

Moreover, there is no written right accorded to smokers under the Federal Constitution or the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

So smokers cannot argue that government efforts to put an end to smoking addiction or to prevent youth from smoking are an infringement of their basic human rights. The same goes for those who are vaping.

In Malaysia, smoking is prohibited in specified public places and workplaces with a centralised air-conditioning system, in government and cultural facilities and indoor stadiums.

Smoking is also prohibited on floors with a service counter in banks, financial institutions and post offices. Since Jan 1, 2020, Malaysia has enforced a smoking ban at eateries as well.

More, however, needs to be done to put an end to smoking addiction among the young. That is why we need the GEG provisions. Having a standalone law to close the loopholes in existing legislation to regulate the use of smoking products is meaningless without the GEG provisions.

If the bill is said to go against the Constitution, steps can be taken to amend the law and implement GEG.


Associate professor, Faculty of Syariah and Law, Universiti Sains Islam Malaysia

The views expressed in this article are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect those of the New Straits Times

Most Popular
Related Article
Says Stories