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Tabling of smoking control bill still on track, says Dr Zaliha

KUANTAN: The tabling of the Tobacco Products and Smoking Control Bill 2022 is still on track for the Parliament sitting in June, says Health Minister Dr Zaliha Mustafa.

She said the matter had been brought before the Cabinet and had been approved for tabling during the Parliament’s second session that will begin June 5.

Asked about concerns that the Bill would be sent back to the Parliamentary Special Committee, Dr Zaliha said: “We will table it first, then we will see the situation afterwards.”

Groups such as the Consumers Association of Penang (CAP) and the Malaysian Council for Tobacco Control had urged the Government not to delay the Bill any longer.

Council secretary-general Muhammad Sha’ani Abdullah reportedly said that ever since the Bill was discussed, all tobacco control measures had come to a standstill.

This included measures such as extending the smoking ban beyond eateries, the introduction of plain packaging for cigarettes, banning the display of cigarette packs at points of sale, and increasing cigarette prices, he said.

CAP president Mohideen Abdul Kader had also called for the Bill along with the Generational Endgame to be presented in Parliament and approved immediately.

He said this was to overcome the issue of lack of legal control over electronic cigarette or vape products after the exemption of nicotine from the Poisons Act 1952 on April 1.

On another matter, Dr Zaliha, who was on a working trip to Kuantan on Monday (May 29), said RM1.12bil would be allocated for the repair of health clinics, equipment and buildings in Pahang.

She also said construction of Hospital Tengku Ampuan Afzan’s women and children’s block, worth RM605mil, would begin soon as the Public Works Department (JKR) was in the final stage of appointing a contractor.

On the long-delayed construction of the Maran hospital, Dr Zaliha said the state Health Department had made site visits and would await feasibility reports from JKR and the Irrigation and Drainage Department as well as the site status validation letter from the Maran district and land office.

Source: The Star

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