Huazong urges govt to gather more views before implementing the GEG bill

MELAKA: he Federation of Chinese Associations Malaysia (Huazong) has urged the government to gather the views of the affected sectors, in regards to the proposed Control of Tobacco Product and Smoking Bill 2022, also known as the tobacco generational endgame (GEG) law, before implementing it.


Once the said Bill is passed and comes into force, it would prohibit smoking, purchasing and / or possession of tobacco or tobacco products and devices by all individuals born on 1st January 2007 onwards.

If convicted of an offence, such individuals may be liable to fines of up to RM 5,000.00 while those who sell tobacco products and devices to such individuals may be liable to a fine of up to RM 300,000.00, imprisonment of up to 3 years or both (the maximum where a seller is a body corporate convicted for the second or each subsequent offence).

Sale of imitation tobacco products, which would include e-cigarettes, vapes and heated tobacco products, is also proposed to be banned under this Bill.

Huazong President Tan Sri T.C Goh said in response to concerns raised by those who are affected by the proposed law, it has come out with 5-points proposal for the government to consider, so as to ensure ‘win-win’ implementation of the said legislation, as follows:

1. The Government to temporarily postpone the said Bill, and to engage with players from the affected sector to further discuss on the matter, so as to ensure a ‘win-win’ situation.

2. Since the government had earlier mentioned that it intended to educate the public towards achieving total ban of smoking in the country, it should thus follow through with such a strategy, or to consider other approaches, instead of attempting to pass the proposed Bill, prematurely.

3. The government should take into consideration its various potential adverse impacts on the affected business sector, including illegal cigarette smuggling activities, which would certainly affect the government’s tax collection, once the proposed Bill comes into force in 2025.

4. Once the proposed Bill comes into force, it might cause great inconvenience, or even trigger disputes between the business operators and their customers, especially for the traditional coffee shops and restaurants, who have no authority to enforce the said law, including asking the customers to produce their identity cards, in order to show proof of their ages.

5. The government recently announced that it planned to amend the Road Transport Act 1987 to impose heavier penalties on illegal motorcycle racers or “mat rempit”, as well as to fine the parents if the mat rempit is an underage person, in an effort to combat such activities which are dangerous to other motorcyclists and road users; the police too had announced that it would not tolerate the ‘basikal lajak’ riders, and that it would act tough on their parents. However, in the case of the proposed GEG Bill, the coffee shop and eatery operators are not the parents of the underage individuals who came to buy cigarettes, hence they should not be fined by the authority. Meanwhile, is the authority concerned going to impose a fine on the parents of the underage person who came to buy cigarettes?

Goh who is also President of The Federation of Chinese Associations Sabah (FCAS) proposed this while speaking at the 100th anniversary celebrations of the Melaka Koo Soo Sun Heng Hong Restaurants & Teashops Association cum swearing-in ceremony of its 15th executive committee, which was held at the Pay Fong Middle School here, on Tuesday. Also in attendance were, Deputy Minister of International Trade and Industry, Datuk Lim Ban Hong, President of Melaka Koo Soo Sun Heng Hong Restaurants & Teashops Association Wong Shao Qing,* its Honorary Life Presidents, Dato Sri Liew Wee Keong and Dato Sri King Lim* , Piong Yew Peng, President of Malacca Chinese Assembly Hall, President of Malacca Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MCCCI), Datuk Siow Dek Kuen, MP for Kota Melaka Khoo Poay Tiong, Melaka state executive councilor Low Chee Leong, and Datuk Wira Gan Tian Loke and Datuk Wira Sun Tian Seh among others.

Goh said, Huazong also supported the stand and call made by the Malaysia Singapore Coffee Shop Proprietors’ General Association, urging the government not to rush the implementation of the proposed GEG Bill, instead to have a proper and thorough discussion with various quarters, in order to ensure a ‘win-win’ solution for everyone.

“While we fully support the government’s move to encourage smokers to quit smoking, and to introduce total ban of smoking in stages, we nonetheless opined that the government should adopt a more considerate approach to achieve this, and not some harsh measures which would adversely affect the business sector,” he said.

Meanwhile, he also urged the government to exercise great caution in pursuing its agenda of legalizing the use of cannabis for medical purposes, as reported recently.

Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin was recently reported for saying during bilateral working visit to Bangkok that, the government will take a stand on the use of cannabis for medical purposes before the end of the year.

“We fully support the government’s move to allow the use of cannabis for medical purposes. But, we hope the government will do it with great caution and strict enforcement, after all, cannabis can be misused for wrong purposes,” he said.

He concluded that, whether it is about legalizing the use of cannabis or to gradually moving towards banning smoking in Malaysia, such agendas must be carefully executed, in order to ensure that they do not backfire and cause more harm than good, for the nation and its people.

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