KUALA LUMPUR, June 7 — Sungai Buloh MP Datuk R. Ramanan today expressed his disapproval of the generational end game (GEG) policy, asking why the younger generation is given the right to vote as young as 18 but is still seen as incapable of making the decision on smoking.
In a press conference at the Parliament, he said the government could implement higher taxes on cigarettes instead of restricting them from deciding.
“You are giving the power to an 18-year-old to decide the fate, the future and the government of this country, but you don’t feel they are responsible enough to decide whether they can smoke?” he said, alluding to the Undi18 movement.
This comes as the Health Ministry said its screening of 1.3 million secondary school students found that more than 43,000 school students were smoking cigarettes.
Health Minister Dr Zaliha Mustafa said that out of a total of two million students undergoing screening, a shocking 341 primary school students were identified as having started using cigarette products.
Ramanan today also highlighted the possible loss of tax revenue that would have come from cigarette sales, and privacy issues related to the verification of age that cigarette sellers will have to do in line with ensuring that buyers are born after 2007.
He insisted the policy required more studying and research before it can be implemented and that other countries had not implemented such a law and were merely looking into it.
Further, many jobs would be lost and many shops will have to close to accommodate the policy, particularly those in the vape industry, he said.
The Ministry of Health (MoH) should only table the Control of Tobacco Products and Smoking Bill 2022 once it has done all of the proper studies and addressed all questions from experts and industry players, he said.
The Bill, which seeks to ban the use, possession and sale of cigarettes and vape products to those born after 2007, was introduced by former health minister Khairy Jamaluddin last year. Yesterday, the Health Ministry said it is set to re-table the highly anticipated Control of Tobacco Product and Smoking Bill on June 12 for its first reading in Parliament.