Wednesday, May 29, 2024
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KUALA LUMPUR — The Malaysia Medical Association (MMA) said the government should either proceed with debating the Control of Smoking Products for Public Health Bill 2023 in this parliamentary meeting or reinstate nicotine as a controlled substance under the Poisons Act 1952.

MMA president Dr Muruga Raj Rajathurai today said the government’s “sudden decision” to refer the Bill to the Parliamentary Special Select Committee (PSSC) for Health has cast doubt on if it would be passed in the current parliamentary session.

“The MMA was of the impression that the Bill was ready to tabled, debated and put to a vote.

“Can a review by the PSSC be done speedily enough to allow the Bill to proceed in the current Parliament session?” he asked.

To note, in April, the government removed liquid nicotine — which is used in electronic cigarettes and vape products — from the list of controlled substances under the Poisons Act, to allow for the taxation of these liquids.

Dr Muruga reiterated that without the anti-smoking Bill, vape products containing nicotine may be sold legally and openly to anyone, including children.

“It would be irresponsible of the government to disregard this issue and its serious impact on public health, in particular the health of our younger generation,” he said.

Last Tuesday, Health Minister Dr Zaliha Mustafa told a press conference that the Bill would be tabled on June 12 for its first reading, after 23 proposed amendments and five new suggestions were incorporated into it.

After the first reading today, however, the Bill was sent to the PSSC for Health for further fine tuning.

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