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Sunday, July 31, 2022

Business losses due to GEG? It’s hogwash, says CAP


The Consumers Association of Penang said cigarettes only contributed 30% of myNEWS’ revenue and it could easily diversify to cover any shortfall.

PETALING JAYA: The Consumers Association of Penang (CAP) has rebuked claims by a retail group that the passage of the generational endgame (GEG) bill to ban tobacco and vape products for those born after 2007 will be bad for its business.

CAP education officer NV Subbarow.

CAP’s education officer NV Subbarow described the reason given by myNEWS Retail Sdn Bhd (myNEWS) against the government’s move, which is aimed at bringing about a much healthier nation, as “weak and hogwash’.

In a statement on Friday, the company had claimed that the passage of the GEG bill would severely affect the business activities of its 500 branches nationwide, as well as fuel the growth of demand for illicit cigarettes by 60%.

myNEWS also said that Section 17 of the Control of Tobacco Product and Smoking Bill 2022 that requires retailers to ask buyers to present their identity cards to buy cigarettes in order to know their age, contradicted the Personal Data Protection Act 2010 (PDPA).

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The retail group claimed that not many people were comfortable sharing their personal details with strangers.

Subbarow dismissed claims that the proposed new law would severely impact MyNEWS’ revenue as its outlets did not just sell tobacco products, adding that it only contributed 30% to its overall revenue.

“How is it possible that the implementation of the GEG law will affect their business greatly since they still have a lot of customers who purchase lots of other products?

“They should move to diversify their business to make up for the loss, if any,” Subbarow said in a statement.

“According to the health ministry’s research, there are around five million smokers in this country. This is a serious matter that needs to be addressed and supersedes business interests,” he added.

Subbarow also said that retailers would not be infringing the PDPA by asking their customers to present their identity cards, as it was a legitimate way of verifying the age like when purchasing alcohol, which also has an age limit.

He called upon all MPs to think about the safety, wellness and health of all Malaysians and ensure that the GEG bill is passed in the Dewan Rakyat.

“This act must be passed, and the GEG must be implemented for the future wellbeing of the nation,” Subbarow said.

On July 27, health minister Khairy Jamaluddin tabled the Bill in the Dewan Rakyat for the first reading.

He has been pushing for the Bill in line with efforts to make Malaysia a tobacco-free country by 2040.

He said it would cost the government RM8 billion to treat diseases linked to the smoking habit like lung cancer, heart problems and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease by 2030.

The Cabinet gave the green light for the bill on July 14. - FMT

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