KUALA LUMPUR, July 30 — The Parliamentary Select Committee on Women, Children and Social Development said the provisions under the Tobacco and Smoking Control Bill 2022 must be reviewed in order to determine whether it is in accordance with the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.
While appreciating the government’s effort to achieve Generational’s Endgame for tobacco products, the committee chairman Datuk Seri Azalina Othman Said said the committee is concerned over the clauses regarding the enforcement of the Bill that may open up space for abuse, misinterpretation and punishment that is not commensurate with the offence.
Azalina pointed out that clause 24 in the Bill will empower a minister to appoint any person to be an officer in the enforcement of the Act.
“The committee is concerned over the scope of the officer's authority, where the authorised person can investigate, enter the premises, take samples, halt, search, and seize with or without a warrant and so on, as provided under clause 24, clause 26, clause 27, clause 28, clause 32 and clause 33,” she said in a joint statement with eight other committee members.
The Parliamentary Select Committee on Women, Children and Social Development comprise of Rompin MP Datuk Seri Hasan Arifin, Kota Samarahan MP, Datuk Hajah Rubiah Wang, Kemaman MP Che Alias Hamid, Sik MP Ahmad Tarmizi Sulaiman, Kuantan MP Fuziah Salleh, Lembah Pantai MP Ahmad Fahmi Mohamed Fadzil, Lanang MP Alice Lau Kiong Yieng and Segambut MP Hannah Yeoh.
Azalina said the committee is concerned about the enforcement as it involves minors and the handling of this group requires officers who are trained and have sensitivity to children, in line with international norms.
“The Clause 54(1)(b) regarding compound offenses also needs to be studied further on its implications on minors,” she added.
Azalina also said that the committee is open to sharing their views from the perspective of child rights before its second reading.
“The committee appreciates the initiative of the Health Ministry to refer the Bill to the Special Select Committee on Health, Science and Innovation before tabled in the Dewan Rakyat on July 27.
“The committee also supports Recommendation No.13 by the Special Select Committee on Health, Science and Innovation that disagrees with the proposed criminal punishment for offenses involving teenagers,” she said.
As of now, the law proposed to criminalise the purchase or possession of tobacco and smoking products for those born on January 1, 2007, onwards with a fine of up to RM5,000.