By Isabelle Leong and Hariz Mohd | Malaysiakini

The government has dropped provisions related to the tobacco and vape ban based on age from the revised Control of Smoking Products for Public Health Bill, which was tabled for the first reading in the Dewan Rakyat today.

The bill, which is the ministry’s third attempt to enact legislation on the anti-smoking and vape control bill, was tabled by Health Minister Dr Zaliha Mustafa.

The previous version of the bill had introduced measures meant to prevent anyone born from 2007 onwards from buying tobacco or nicotine products, giving the bill its Generational End Game (GEG) moniker.

According to the bill sighted by the media today, the new version of the bill prohibits the sale of tobacco products, smoking substances, or substitute tobacco products, or providing any services for smoking to a minor.

However, a section that would perpetually ban the sale of smoking products to those born in 2007 and beyond — the GEG provisions — has been removed.

According to Clause 17(1) of the proposed bill, minors are prohibited from smoking, chewing or using any tobacco product or smoking any substitute tobacco product.

“Any person who contravenes subsection (1) commits an offence and shall on conviction be liable to a fine not exceeding RM500 or be ordered to perform community service pursuant to the Criminal Procedure Code or the Child Act 2001.”

Zaliha has proposed for the second reading of the bill to be tabled tomorrow.

Health Minister Dr Zaliha Mustafa

Earlier, in the august house, she retracted the previous version of the bill, which was tabled in June.

On Nov 15, her predecessor Khairy Jamaluddin accused several ministers of blocking the legislation aimed at making it illegal for those born after 2007 to buy or consume nicotine products.

Khairy, the architect of the original bill, said the cabinet’s handling of the matter was “absolutely shambolic”.

Previously, a source in the Health Ministry told Malaysiakini that tobacco lobbyists were also exerting pressure on the government to torpedo the GEG.

Former Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin

Meanwhile, health watchdog CodeBlue reported that Attorney General Ahmad Terrirudin Mohd Salleh was of the opinion that the GEG provisions were “unconstitutional” because they violated Article 8 of the Federal Constitution which guaranteed equality before the law.

Lawyer New Sin Yew had previously argued that Article 8 permits discrimination if there is an “intelligible differentia” and if the discrimination was in pursuit of a “legitimate objective”.