Major retailer myNews says facing uncertain future with smoking ban

·2-min read
Malay Mail
Malay Mail

KUALA LUMPUR, July 29 — myNews Retail Sdn Bhd said in a statement today that the revenue of its more than 500 outlets across Malaysia will be affected if the Tobacco Bill is approved.

The convenience store chain appealed to all MPs to re-evaluate their decision to approve the Tobacco Bill tabled in Parliament for its first reading yesterday.

If the Bill is approved, those born after 2007 will no longer be allowed to smoke, buy or possess any type of tobacco products.

“We believe this ban will fuel the growth of illegal cigarettes even more. With a market share of over 60 per cent, the enforcement agencies are already struggling to stop the illegal cigarette trade.

“A total ban allows the smuggling syndicates to control the entire market. Will the enforcement agencies be able to stop this? The ultimate beneficiary of this ban will be the criminal syndicates,” said the statement.

The statement also pointed out that implementing the ban will also be challenging as “it rests entirely on the shoulders of the retailers or end sellers who are required to comply with this rule.

“We will need to ask for the buyer’s identification card to ensure that the buyer meets the age criteria to buy cigarettes. This contradicts The Personal Data Protection Act 2010 (PDPA), and not everybody is comfortable sharing their personal information with strangers.”

To comply with this new law, myNews said it would have to consider adding on more employees and what is worse is the law will “disallow those born after 2007 opportunities to work with us.”

The chain reiterated that young workers are “essential for the sustainability of our industry” and the heavy penalties imposed — minimum fine of RM20,000 — will also be another burden.

myNews also said it was disappointed that its views on the Bill were not sought by the government.

“At this juncture, the government should emphasise educating the future generation on cigarette and tobacco harm reduction before implementing new laws restricting their freedom of choice.”

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