Representatives of the hospitality business have asked the government of Malaysia to consider the impact of its proposed “generational endgame” (GEG) law on operations of food and beverage outlets in the country, reports the New Straits Times.
On Feb 17, Minister of Health Khairy Jamaluddin announced that Malaysia would introduce bold new legislation to ban smoking and vaping and possession of tobacco products and e-cigarettes for people born after 2005.
“We are supportive of the Health Ministry’s agenda in reducing the number of smokers in the country,” said Wong Teu Hoon, president of Malaysian Singapore Coffeeshop Proprietors’ General Association (MSCSPGA) “However, we strongly believe any new measures should be carefully evaluated when it has a socio-economic impact.”
The MSCSPGA, which has 43 affiliates under it, is one of the largest trader associations in the country, boasting a membership of 20,000 coffeeshop operators nationwide, and employing some 500,000 people.
Wong’s view was echoed by C. Krishnan, deputy president of the Malaysian Indian Restaurant Owners Association, who called for a detailed study and consultation with the retailers and other stakeholders.
Krishnan worries that the ministry has insufficient manpower to control and inspect every tobacco-based product purchase.
“Therefore, we (retailers) automatically become the frontliners in the implementation of the GEG bill,” he said. “Let’s not forget the issue of asking for identity cards. We are afraid that this will lead to arguments and unpleasant situations in our outlets, which any coffeeshop owner knows is bad for business.”