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FMM: “Find ways to reduce smoking prevalence rather than resorting to tobacco GEG”

FMM In The News: FOCUS MALAYSIA, Thursday, October 6, 2022 - THE Federation of Malaysian Manufacturers (FMM) has expressed its concern with the domino effect on the business community and the country’s economy arising from the proposed Control of Tobacco Product and Smoking Bill 2022 which includes the tobacco Generational Endgame (GEG).

FMM president Tan Sri Soh Thian Lai acknowledged that while steps need to be taken to reduce the smoking prevalence in Malaysia, measures such as the GEG need to be viewed more holistically with close engagement with all stakeholders especially those related to the tobacco and vape supply chain.

“If not managed properly the implementation of the Bill may even cause increase in unemployment rates in the long run as businesses involved in the supply chain of these products could be forced to trim down their workforce due to low revenue,” Soh commented.

“We also cannot discount the impact of such policies on foreign investors. Malaysia could be perceived as a restrictive country which will discourage foreign direct investments as the GEG policy sets a precedent that could be imposed onto other industries in the future for similar reasons.”

Soh pointed out that focus should be on addressing illicit tobacco products that are rampant in the country where close to 60% of products sold are smuggled.

“The GEG policy does not address this issue and instead may lead to worsening the illegal cigarette trading activities further,” he continued.

“It is therefore important for the Government to come up with a win-win and holistic solutions for both the Government and the industry in findings ways to reduce smoking prevalence without taking drastic steps especially in the current economic climate.”

Soh said the business community and the rakyat are already facing enough challenges such as the rising cost of goods and raw materials and labour shortages.

“There needs to be better engagement with stakeholders in the supply chain for the industry to find a middle ground on the matter,” he added.

The Control of Tobacco Products and Smoking Bill 2022, which among other things will prohibit the sale and use of any form of smoking material including electronic cigarettes or vaping to individuals born on Jan 1, 2007 onwards, is intended to reduce smoking among Malaysians.

It was tabled by Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin on July 27 for the first reading, but was referred to the Parliamentary Special Select Committee to be refined.

This was to enable the committee to make recommendations to examine the enforcement section of the Bill, and to propose any improvements, if necessary, subject to the law in force.

According to news reports, the statement containing the proposed improvements to the Bill will be presented latest by today. – Oct 6, 2022

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