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Govt urged to have more discussions with stakeholders over GEG Bill

KUALA LUMPUR: Several associations representing eating places and sundry goods operators have called on the federal government to conduct extra thorough engagements with all stakeholders earlier than transferring on with the Control of Tobacco Products and Smoking Bill 2022.

Reiterating that they weren’t in opposition to the generational endgame (GEG) law, they mentioned there were sensible considerations going through operators operating a legitimate enterprise.

Malaysia-Singapore Coffeeshop Proprietors’ General Association president Wong Teu Hoon mentioned the Parliament’s Special Select Committee (PSSC) for the GEG Bill should include the association for engagement and consultation.

“Many of our members rely on cigarette gross sales for some small earnings as everybody remains to be struggling to recover after two years of severe enterprise disruptions.

“As legitimate cigarette sellers, our concerns and plights should be heard, too.

“But until now, we’ve been consulted and not received any briefing on the implementation of the proposed measures as reported within the media,” he said in a press conference Thursday (Sept 22).

Reiterating its assist for the GEG Bill, Wong said, “We are supportive of the Health Ministry’s agenda in lowering the variety of smokers in the country. All we requested is to be heard and have our concerns thought-about.”

“A complete consultation, briefing and impact examine ought to be carried out with retailers to enhance the GEG Bill,” he mentioned.

Malaysian Indian Restaurants Owners Association (Primas) secretary N. Shanmugam echoed Wong’s call, including that cigarette gross sales make up about 30% of operators’ revenue and it was an essential revenue particularly when most operators were nonetheless recovering from the Covid-19 pandemic.

He mentioned members were concerned concerning the implementation when the Bill became legislation, as in who would be on the frontline to examine and implement it on the bottom.

“Retail operators will be the ones anticipated to conduct the id checks, which in turn would trigger rigidity as a end result of not everyone is comfy with sharing their personal particulars with strangers.

“Since the Bill doesn’t permit those born after 2007 to work in retailers that sell cigarettes, the working prices for these small businesses will improve and cause many to exit of enterprise.

“The GEG will influence the revenue of retail shops at a time when we face an unprecedented world recession,” he said.

Federation of Sundry Goods Merchants Association of Malaysia chairman Hong Chee Meng additionally highlighted the worker scarcity of many operators.

“The operators should not be targeted to double up as enforcers when the legislation comes into impact.

“We need extra engagement with the related ministries, and a platform to share our plight,” he stated.

Malaysian Muslim Restaurant Owners Association (Presma) president Datuk Jawahar Ali Taib Khan said that being dragged to court docket was the final thing operators wished within the case if the GEG law was challenged legally.

“Many other features should be ironed out earlier than this lastly turns into a regulation,” he stated.

The Control of Tobacco Products and Smoking Bill 2022, which was tabled for first reading in Parliament by Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin on July 27, seeks to make it illegal for anybody born on and after Jan 1, 2007 to buy cigarettes and different tobacco and vaping merchandise.

Currently, anybody who is 18 and above should buy such products.

The Bill is predicted to be tabled once more in the course of the subsequent Parliament sitting in October.

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