KUALA LUMPUR: The Ministry of Health (MOH) has agreed to amend the quantum of fines from RM5,000 to RM500 or community service orders for the offences committed by the Generational End Game (GEG) group born after Jan 1, 2007, under the Tobacco and Smoking Products Control Bill 2022.
Minister Khairy Jamaluddin said this followed a meeting between the ministry and the Parliamentary Select Committee on Women, Children and Social Development today.
“To ensure that the Act is not seen as punitive, the offences committed by the GEG group are only set a maximum fine of RM500 or community services. This group will be first offered compounds based on the offences committed,” he said when presenting the Bill for the second reading in the Dewan Rakyat today.
Khairy said MOH has agreed to the amendments at the Dewan Rakyat Committee level to prevent body checks from being conducted on anyone aged below 18.
Besides, he said the provision for possession of any tobacco products, smoking equipment, tobacco-related products or smoking devices would also be amended.
Khairy said to ensure the law is implemented well and orderly, MOH will continuously hold engagement sessions with stakeholders such as health-related non-governmental organisations.
He added that each provision under the Bill would be also constantly monitored and evaluated.
“The government will set up an Independent Administrative Committee to check and monitor all provisions under the Bill, including controls over generations born after Jan 1, 2007,” he said.
In the nearly 50-minute presentation, Khairy explained that the Bill is very important and should no longer be delayed in curbing the practice of smoking in Malaysia, especially for the younger generation, who will lead the nation, thus creating a healthier and more productive leader, and society.
He said the Bill would also reduce the burden of treatment costs borne by the government for smoking-related diseases.
According to Khairy, it is the responsibility of the government to ensure all children received the best health protection from any form of using any dangerous tobacco products.
He said the smoking problem is increasingly burdened by a new millennium of smoking habits with a surge of interest in electronic cigarettes and vapes.
Khairy said the number of e-cigarettes and vape users is increasing especially among children and teenagers since the products entered the Malaysian market in 2015.
He explained the matter is worrying since the control related to e-cigarettes and vaping cannot be implemented fully under the existing laws.
“The proposed full ban on the sales of e-cigarettes and vapes that was suggested for the GEG group is aimed at lowering the percentage of smokers to less than five per cent of the Malaysian population and to achieve a tobacco-free nation by 2040,” he said. - Bernama