The government of Malaysia has eliminated the generational endgame (GEG) clause from its Control of Smoking Products for Public Health Bill 2023, reports CodeBlue.
The move follows an opinion issued by Attorney-General Ahmad Terrirudin Mohd Salleh’s that the proposed age-based prohibition—which seeks to ban tobacco and vape products for anyone born from Jan. 1, 2007—is unconstitutional because it would create two sets of laws for two different groups of citizens based on age.
Enacting the GEG would require a change to Malaysia’s constitution, according to the attorney general, and the government was reportedly not confident it would be able to secure the required two-thirds majority in Parliament.
Anti-smoking activists were outraged, saying that the cabinet’s decision to drop the generational provision from the bill violates the Convention of the Rights of the Child, which Malaysia ratified in 1995.
“We believe that this is a backward step that will lead the people of Malaysia, especially children and adolescents, into the realms of nicotine addiction and drug dependence,” said Family Medicine Specialists’ Association (FMSA) President Nor Hazlin Talib.
The FMSA urged the government to reinsert the GEG clause into the bill. “The government needs to prioritize public health over political and economic interests,” Talib said.
In addition to the now removed GEG clause, the bill includes provisions on registration of tobacco products, advertisement, packaging and smoke-free places, among other items.