KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 12 — Second-time health minister Datuk Seri Dzulkefly Ahmad should restore vape liquid — containing the addictive substance nicotine — to the Poisons List, and should also proceed with the Generational End Game (GEG) (which seeks to ban smoking for those born after a certain year), the Malaysian Pharmacists Society (MPS) said today.

Lauding Dzulkefly’s appointment today as health minister in a Cabinet reshuffle as a wise and positive step, MPS said he would have an opportunity to continue with his duties that were left unfinished since the Pakatan Harapan’s government’s fall in 2020.

MPS noted that Dzulkefly had previously outlined a focus on health promotion and preventive healthcare instead of therapy, rehabilitation, and palliative care, and said he will now have the chance to continue the agenda of reforming the healthcare system in Malaysia through the implementation of the Health White Paper that was tabled in Parliament on June 15.

“This framework is important as the next step involves implementing the main programmes in the Health White Paper. Therefore, MPS hopes to be able to be involved in efforts to detail out strategic efforts that have to be implemented within the 15 years proposed in that Health White Paper,” MPS president Professor Amrahi Buang said in a statement.


MPS proposed that Dzulkefly tackle the issue of nicotine-containing liquid and gel which had been delisted from the Poisons List early this year, asking him to restore such items to being covered by the Poisons Act.

Previously, three civil society groups had sued Dzulkefly’s immediate predecessor Dr Zaliha Mustafa over the delisting from the Poisons List and had wanted the court to restore the Health Ministry’s regulation over e-cigarette and vape liquids and gels.

The High Court will deliver its decision in that case on February 7, 2024.


“Besides that, it is recommended that the Generational End Game (GEG) be inserted into the Control of Smoking Products for Public Health Act 2023 as soon as possible after the regulations for that law are created and implemented,” MPS said.

The Control of Smoking Products for Public Health Bill 2023 has yet to become law, as only the Dewan Rakyat has passed the Bill so far. The Dewan Negara has two days this year — today and tomorrow — to debate on government Bills like that Bill.

Dr Zaliha had previously retracted the Control of Tobacco Product and Smoking Bill 2022 (which contained the GEG policy that aimed to prohibit the sale and use of any form of smoking material including electronic cigarettes or vaping to individuals born on January 1, 2007), and tabled a revised version known as the Control of Smoking Products for Public Health Bill 2023 (which does not include the GEG policy).

Apart from that, MPS today said the government should pay serious attention to medicine security just as attention is given to food security.

MPS pointed to the need to take account lessons based on experience since the Covid-19 pandemic including geo-political issues like the Russian-Ukraine war and Palestine issue involving medicine and raw ingredients for the manufacture of medicines and the weak local currency.

MPS said related activities for medicine security should be increased, relating to not only medicinal products but also delivery services that support pharmaceutical care.

“MPS fully supports the Madani government’s recommendation for transparency in medicine prices for consumers as a basic right. Consumers have to be given the choice to choose and buy medicine based on their capability,” it said.

In line with the environmental, social and governance (ESG) principle, MPS highlighted the issue of disposal of products such as anti-microbial medicine which has a high impact on the environment, saying that strategic and drastic action has to be taken to handle pharmaceutical waste from the stage of the manufacturer to the consumer.

Separately, Malaysian Medical Association (MMA) president Dr Azizan Abdul Aziz congratulated Dzulkefly on his return to his old portfolio as health minister.

“With his proven track record, experience and strong leadership qualities, we believe he is well-equipped to address the complex issues and challenges within the healthcare system,” it said.

“MMA had a good working relationship with Datuk Seri Dr Dzulkely. He was willing to listen to the views of experts and held regular engagements with stakeholders on any policy decisions. He was also willing to make unpopular decisions when needed, (like the smoking ban at eateries), to protect public health,” she said in a statement today.

Expressing confidence that Dzulkefly would perform his duties well as he had done before, MMA said it looks forward to the opportunity to engage and work closely with him once again.