KUALA LUMPUR, 15th June 2023 – The Consumer Choice Center (CCC) is calling for a clear timeline on the Special Select Committee On Health’s process to review the Control of Smoking Product for Public Health Bill 2023 to ensure that the process can be done thoroughly and holistically.
Representative of the Malaysian Consumer Choice Center, Tarmizi Anuwar said: “A clear timeline needs to be announced by the Government to give room for the Special Select Committee on Health to conduct a detailed and holistic study in preparing a feedback report to the Control of Smoking Product for Public Health Bill 2023. It is important to ensure that this committee has adequate time to prepare its report.”
In the meantime, Tarmizi urged the government to prioritise regulating the vape industry that has long operated in the grey area.
“Regulating the vape industry must be the government’s utmost priority. In the interim, while the Special Select Committee On Health reviews the Control of Smoking Product for Public Health Bill 2023, the government can look into expanding existing legislations to include vape. This is even more vital now that nicotine has been exempted from the Poisons Act.”
“In the long-run, efforts must be made to distinguish vape from tobacco. These are two very different products, and work in completely different manners. While tobacco causes an annual death toll of eight million people each year, vape has been scientifically proven to be 95% less harmful than tobacco and the most effective quit aid,” he said.
Tarmizi has also urged the committee to hold additional engagement sessions with stakeholders who are particularly impacted, particularly consumers. Also involving experts from various fields.
“Based on the regulatory impact statement issued by the New Zealand government, during the Proposal for a Smokefree Aotearoa 2025 Action Plan process, 5,200 people and organizations were involved through face-to-face or written methods. However, the Ministry of Health only conducted about 70 engagement sessions without revealing how many people and organizations were involved”, he said.
“This engagement also needs to involve experts from various fields who are not only limited to one point of view but need to include a variety of opinions because the cigarette problem is a complex problem and requires a comprehensive solution. Among them Tun Zaki who is the former Chief Justice once touched on the issue of individual freedom in the implementation of the generational endgame.”
Elaborating on the role of the Special Select Committee on Health, Tarmizi said the Ministry of Health must ensure that the committee must be free from the influence of the Ministry of Health and have autonomy in carrying out their responsibilities.
“The Ministry needs to ensure that the special select committee has autonomy in carrying out their studies without any interference from the Ministry. This is important to ensure that the members of the committee are able to carry out their responsibilities without any conflict of interest of the Ministry of Health as has happened before.”