DAP’s Dr Yii welcomes anti-smoking Bill’s referral to Special Select Committee, hopes for ‘improved Act’

·2-min read
Malay Mail
Malay Mail

KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 2 — Bandar Kuching MP Dr Kelvin Yii said he was glad that the government agreed with his proposal for a review of the Control of Tobacco Product and Smoking Bill 2022 by a parliamentary select committee, expressing hopes for the Bill to be transformed into an “improved Act”.

The Dapsy chief said in a statement today that he agreed with the intention of the Bill to further regulate the use of tobacco products, and to regulate and monitor the vape industry, but that there were real concerns with possible loopholes and enforcement overreach.

“I strongly believe the committee can make a commitment to work on the Bill extensively and target it to be one of first agenda through agreement of the government in the upcoming Parliament session scheduled in October,” he said.

His concerns about the Bill were due to provisions that granted enforcement officers the authority to enter any premises, seize baggage, and stop, search and seize conveyance, as well the power to search and seize without a warrant, including a body search by officers of the same gender over suspicions of tobacco possession.

“This is disproportionate and open to abuse especially when there is inconsistent enforcement from different agencies,” he added.

He cited possible abuse as a reason for the recommendations by the Special Select Committee on Health, Science and Innovation to delay the implementation of the generation end game (GEG) for smoking in order to prepare a proper enforcement framework ensuring that victimisation by the law will not occur.

He referred to his debate in Parliament, saying he had proposed to the health minister that the Bill should be reviewed extensively by a parliamentary select committee to ensure that safeguards are in place within the Bill to prevent abuse while still preserving its spirit.

He also noted that nicotine users have a right to be treated equally under the law, with compassion and dignity.

“What is more important is to make sure we come out with a good law and address all the concerns to get proper buy-in to increase compliance and ensure it achieves its intended target,” he said.

Earlier today, the Dewan Rakyat voted to refer the Bill to a parliamentary select committee through a voice vote.

The Bill, which is widely known as the anti-smoking Bill, was tabled by Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin in Parliament on July 27 and it had its second reading yesterday and today.

It proposes banning smoking, buying or owning cigarettes and tobacco products for those born in 2007 onwards.

The ban is expected to come into effect in 2025.

Discussions about the potential power abuses allowed by the Bill has been fiercely debated by Malaysians.

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