Putrajaya’s new anti-smoking laws an invasion of privacy, claim tobacco manufacturers

·2-min read
Malay Mail
Malay Mail

KUALA LUMPUR, July 31 — Tobacco manufacturers in Malaysia are unhappy with the proposed Control of Tobacco Product and Smoking Act 2022, arguing that it gave too much power to authorities and will cause a breach of basic human rights.

The Confederation of Malaysian Tobacco Manufacturers (CMTM) said adult Malaysians are protected under Section 6 of the Consumer Protection Act 1999 which allows them to make their own choices without worry of prejudice or repercussions.

“Moreover, these laws give the authorities too much power as it allows them to check your personal details, raid your home, inspect your telephone or luggage, and access your personal details.

“Then you will have to give them your password, face arrest, be subject to body checks and see your home entered without permission for inspection.

“In the end, instead of creating a smoke-free generation, we are creating a generation of criminals who are being punished for buying a product others can buy,” the group said in a statement today.

The Bill, which was tabled for its first reading by Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin last Wednesday, provides for, among others, the prohibition of smoking, buying or possessing tobacco products or smoking devices by the Generational End-Game (GEG) or individuals, born in 2007 onwards.

Khairy said the approval of the Bill will also ensure that the sale of cigarette products, especially vape, can be regulated under a separate act as there is currently no legal mechanism to regulate such products.

CMTM, however, argued that prohibiting the sale of these products will only give rise to the illegal tobacco trade which currently supplies 60 per cent of the market estimated at RM5 billion.

The group said individuals will have to hide their habit and be stigmatised as criminals.

“That’s why it is important to find the right balance and we hope this letter reaches the prime minister and our requests that these laws be amended are met,” it added in the statement.

The statement was signed by British American Tobacco Managing Director Nedal Salem, Khoo Bee Leng Managing Director of JT International and Naeem Shahab Khan Managing Director of Phillip Morris Malaysia.

The punishments provided in the Control of Tobacco Product and Smoking Bill 2022 states there will be no criminal record for GEG offenders, and they will only be fined, if convicted.

According to Section 17 of the proposed act, no person who was born on January 1, 2007 onwards shall smoke any tobacco product or substitute tobacco product; use any smoking device; or possess any tobacco product, smoking substance, substitute tobacco product or smoking device.

Any person who contravenes subsection (1) commits an offence and shall, on conviction, be liable to a fine not exceeding RM5,000, it reads.

Apart from that, individuals born on Jan 1, 2007 onwards who purchase tobacco products, smoking substance and substitute tobacco products or smoking devices may face a fine not exceeding RM5,000, upon conviction.

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