KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 28 — Former health minister Khairy Jamaluddin today criticised the federal government for omitting the Generational End Game (GEG) clause when it finally tabled the much delayed Control of Smoking Products for Public Health Bill 2023 in the Dewan Rakyat.
The self-described “retired politico” described today as a “sad day” and a big win for tobacco and vape companies, adding that the omission meant the sale of tobacco and vape products will be allowed to continue with less safeguards for future generations now.
“Today is a sad day. I crafted the GEG for public health. And the bill that I brought to parliament which contained the GEG and measures to regulate vape sale received support from the public health community.
“They had wanted vape to be banned, full stop. But we managed to find a middle ground where we included the GEG provision. Now, that has been dropped,” he wrote on his Instagram Story.
He admitted that the Bill will still regulate the sale of vape products, but insisted that the government had missed a “consequential, landmark legislation for public health”.
“Anyway, congratulations to Big Tobacco and the vape industry. You have won,” he added.
Khairy claimed that the GEG was dropped because of strong lobby from tobacco companies in Malaysia, rather than legal arguments of the unconstitutionality in its implementation as has been attributed to Attorney General Datuk Ahmad Terrirudin Mohd Salleh.
“Lawyers laugh at that asinine statement. No, GEG was dropped because of the strong lobby from Big Tobacco,” he said.
But Khairy also indicated that the fight to curb smoking among youths is not yet over.
“One day, public health will win,” he added.
The Control of Smoking Products for Public Health Bill 2023 was tabled by Khairy’s successor Dr Zaliha Musafa for the first reading in the Dewan Rakyat this morning.
The Bill omitted the GEG policy that aimed to prohibit the sale and use of any form of smoking material including electronic cigarettes or vaping to individuals born on January 1, 2007.
Dr Zaliha had earlier retracted the Control of Tobacco Product and Smoking Bill 2022 to make way for the revised anti-smoking Bill.