Consult retailers before implementing tobacco generational end game, group says

·3-min read
Malay Mail
Malay Mail

KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 9 — The Federation of Sundry Goods Merchants Associations of Malaysia (FSGMAM) urged the Parliamentary Special Select Committee (PSSC) to seek retailers’ views on the Control of Tobacco Products and Smoking Bill 2022.

FSGMAM president Hong Chee Meng said that since the Bill was tabled, there has been no discussions with retail businesses, adding that the PSSC must consult these before making any decisions as it would have a significant impact on the retail sector.

“There hasn’t been any discussion with the retail businesses, and we are not aware of how it will be implemented nor what the requirements will be for the retail sectors to comply.

“We only read from news that the Ministry of Health wants to stop sales to individuals born after 2007 and that there may potentially be a digital tracking system that will be introduced to track and monitor transactions on tobacco and vape products,” he said in a statement today.

Hong stressed that the sales of tobacco products provided steady income for sundry shops nationwide, which was vital to help them recover from the Covid-19 pandemic.

He added that the ban would gradually reduce revenue among retailers in the long run.

He also said that on top of the proposed ban, retailers were already facing stiff competition from the illicit cigarette market, which he said should be the priority instead.

He said by combating the illicit market, billions of ringgit in lost tax revenue would be recovered, and without disrupting legitimate businesses.

“In addition, we also have tough competition from illegal products. There are so many products in the market that do not comply with the Ministry of Health’s laws and they are all sold below the minimum price of RM12 as required by the Ministry of Health.

“This matter needs to be dealt with first before any new measures and policies are considered.

“FSGMAM hopes that the PSSC will invite all retail businesses for in-depth consultation on this matter before finalising their decision on the bill. In fact, more studies and reviews need to be done given that it will have an impact on the retail businesses,” Hong said.

On August 2, Dewan Rakyat approved the proposal for the Control of Tobacco Products and Smoking Bill 2022 to be referred to the Parliament’s Special Select Committee.

Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin was reported as saying that the Bill will be referred to a special select committee.

He said he viewed the matter seriously and was prepared to complete the task.

The special select committee is composed of government bloc MPs: Datuk Seri Abdul Azeez Abdul Rahim (Baling); Datuk Mohd Nizar Zakaria (Parit); Datuk Seri Azalina Othman Said (Pengerang); Datuk Mas Ermieyati Samsudin (Masjid Tanah) and Ahmad Fadhli Shaari (Pasir Mas).

It is also composed of Opposition MPs: Lukanisman Awang Sauni (Sibuti); Dr Kelvin Yii Lee Wuen (Bandar Kuching); Sivarasa Rasiah (Sungai Buloh); Datuk Seri Dzulkefly Ahmad (Kuala Selangor); Datuk Seri Madius Tangau (Tuaran); Datuk Ignatius Darell Leiking (Penampang) and Datuk Seri Mukhriz Mahathir (Jerlun).

The committee can also invite any parties such as MPs, legal and constitutional experts, non-governmental organisations (NGOs), civil society leaders and other individuals to attend the conference from time to time.

The Dewan Rakyat agreed that the Tobacco and Smoking Products Control Bill 2022 will be referred to the special select committee to be examined and come out with recommendations for improvement.