MALAYSIA Tanah Tumpah Darahku


Thursday, November 30, 2023

Lobbying part of democracy, says MP amid row over GEG removal from bill


Dr Kelvin Yii dismissed the notion that Putrajaya’s decisions are unduly swayed by powerful industry lobbies.

KUALA LUMPUR: A DAP MP has come to the defence of lobbying practices amid controversy over the removal of the Generational End Game (GEG) component in the revised Control of Smoking Products for Public Health Bill.

Dr Kelvin Yii (PH-Bandar Kuching) said lobbying is part of the democratic process, dismissing the notion that Putrajaya’s decisions are unduly swayed by powerful industry lobbies.

“Some say that we bow to the powerful industry lobbies, but let’s be honest. Lobbying is part of democracy,” Yii said while debating the bill in the Dewan Rakyat today.

“Every policy indeed faces lobbying. Why do we only say in this issue that the government bows to industry (lobbyists)?

“In other issues, there are also industries lobbying. So, let us set the record straight. Let’s be fair and mature about this.”

On Tuesday, the government decided to remove the GEG provisions from the amended version of the bill as they were unconstitutional.

Former health minister Khairy Jamaluddin claimed that the government’s move to abandon the GEG was primarily due to strong lobbying from tobacco companies in Malaysia, rather than legal concerns raised by the attorney-general.

Some MPs, notably Pasir Gudang MP Hassan Karim, also questioned whether the government had bowed to pressure from tobacco lobbyists in retracting the provision.

However, health minister Dr Zaliha Mustafa said the ministry has not scrapped the provisions that seek to ban smoking and vaping among those born after 2007.

She said the GEG was merely being put aside “for now”, and that the government might revive tabling the law if there is a need for it in the future. - FMT

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