Kj Agrees To Amend Geg Bill Fine Lowered From Rm5k To Rm500
Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin has agreed to amend parts of the Tobacco and Smoking Control Bill 2022 “in the spirit of bipartisanship” after lawmakers raised concerns.
Khairy said he met with the Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC) on Women, Children, and Social Development as well as Bandar Kuching MP Dr Kelvin Yii, who is the chairperson of the PSC on Health, Science, and Innovation today.
“They were productive meetings, and in the spirit of bipartisanship, I agreed to amend (parts of the bill).
“With these concessions, the majority of recommendations by both PSCs have been incorporated as amendments into the bill,” Khairy said in a series of posts on Twitter today.
The amendments Khairy agreed to:
A reduction of the standard fines for the Generational End Game (GEG) portion of the Tobacco and Smoking Control Act from RM5,000 to RM500.
Addition of community service as an option in lieu of a fine (as mandated by the court).
No body searches for anyone under the age of 18 years old.
No punishment for possession for all GEG-related offences.
A section of the bill – widely known as the GEG – seeks to make it unlawful to sell tobacco products and smoking devices to those born from Jan 1, 2007 onwards, with the ban starting in 2025.
Aside from the GEG section, the bill also includes various regulations to control the sale of tobacco and vape products, which have been in the works since 2005.
Potential for rights violations - groups
Lawmakers are concerned the GEG portion is being rushed as it was only announced in January but they are expected to vote on the bill only a week after being able to peruse it.
Health professionals and human rights groups have also said they are worried about the impact of punitive measures in dealing with addiction as well as the potential for human rights violations.
The bill was first tabled in Parliament on July 27 and is expected to be debated and voted on in the Dewan Rakyat later today.
While tabling the bill for its second reading in the Dewan Rakyat today, Khairy assured that the GEG will not affect those already above 18 years old who are already smokers.
“(Those who are already smokers), you can smoke till whenever, you can smoke till you die, we will not disturb.
“These (provisions) are only for the new generation, to protect the new generation.
“For existing smokers, you can keep smoking even though we have asked you to stop… there’s nothing we can do aside from restricting (smoking) in certain places and so on,” he said. - Mkini
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