Bill banning tobacco, smoking products would compel suspects to give enforcers access to personal devices

·3-min read
Malay Mail
Malay Mail

KUALA LUMPUR, July 28 — The proposed Control of Tobacco Product and Smoking Bill 2022, an ambitious legislation with the aim of a generational end-game (GEG), would allow authorised officers by law unfettered access to an individual’s recorded information and computerised data.

Article 34 in the Bill sighted by Malay Mail would compel a user to provide their devices’ passwords for the purpose of investigation, should an officer have reasonable reasons to believe that the person they suspect has purchased or has been buying tobacco products and/or smoking devices.

Article 34(1) and 34(2) stipulates that an officer must be given access to any recorded information or computerised data in the course of their investigation if they believed the device is involved in an offence.

Furthermore, Article 34(3) states that the authorised officer may make copies of or take extracts from the recorded information or computerised data, if he deems it necessary.

Meanwhile, Article 34(4) states that access to be given to the officers include necessary password, encryption code, decryption code, software or hardware and any other means required to enable the officers to scrutinise the information or data.

The Bill was tabled in Parliament for the first reading yesterday and is expected to see heated debates in the Lower House.

The Bill stipulates that no one will be allowed to sell cigarettes or vape products or provide smoking services to those born after 2007. Anyone found doing so is liable to a fine not exceeding RM20,000 or no more than a year in jail, or both, for their first offence.

For second offenders, they would be liable to a fine of no more than RM30,000 or jail time for up to two years, or both.

For corporate bodies, should they get caught selling or providing smoking services to those born after 2007, they can be fined for no less than RM20,000 but no more than RM100,000, or imprisonment for up to two years, or both, for their first offense.

Second offenders can be fined not less than RM50,000 but no more than RM300,000, or spend up to three years in jail, or both.

The Bill also shows that the Health director-general (D-G) has full power in the approval and cancellation of tobacco or substitute tobacco products, as should the Bill go through, distributors of these products must apply to be registered under this Act through the D-G’s office.

Should someone be caught importing, manufacturing or distributing tobacco, for persons, they can be fined RM20,000, or one year jail, or both for first offence, while for corporate bodies, a fine not less than RM20,000 but not exceeding RM100,000, or two years jail, or both, for first offence.

The D-G will also have the right to cancel any approval of registration made for tobacco or substitute tobacco products should the applicant break any provisions of the Act, breach any conditions of the registration or has been convicted of any offence under this Act.

The Act also states that the health minister can gazette any area, building or vehicle that the public has access to as a non-smoking area, officially making it criminal to smoke in said place. Those caught smoking in those areas would be liable to a fine not exceeding RM5,000.

Owners, proprietors, or occupiers of these places must then display warning signs of prohibition of smoking, not provide any smoking equipment and take all reasonable measures to prevent people from smoking, or they themselves can be made liable to a RM5,000 fine.

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