Rushing to enact the Generational Endgame could bring serious consequences.
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By now, most Malaysians are aware that the government is attempting to enact a smoking ban termed Generational Endgame (GEG).
Although GEG is intended to lower the country’s smoking rate, there are worries that the law is highly flawed.
And with that possibility underway, the big question is, does the government have enough time to study the bill before it is passed?
Why GEG may backfire
Rushing to enact GEG could bring serious consequences. Without proper consideration of the long-term effects of passing GEG, it poses a serious threat to our civil liberties.
Under the proposed bill, those born from 1 January 2007 onwards are prohibited from smoking, buying or possessing any type of tobacco-related products, even after they reach 18 years old.
The bill also permits officers to search a person’s possessions for cigarettes, vapes, and other tobacco-related items. It also gives officers the right to stop, search, and confiscate property.
Additionally, retailers and cigarette vendors are not permitted to display or sell tobacco products and their substitutes to anyone affected by the ban. Offenders may face a fine of up to RM20,000 or one year in jail, or both, upon conviction.
Imposing this law may strip away a person’s right to choose whether or not to consume or sell a product that’s not classified as illegal in Malaysia once they become of age.
So, although on the surface it may look as if GEG is a positive step in creating a tobacco-free nation, the negative repercussions of this law may run deeper.
This may, inadvertently, create a more significant problem because illicit tobacco products contain higher levels of toxic components.
It takes more than just a blanket ban to curb the smoking problem this country is facing. There are better measures that can be put in place to achieve the positive intention behind GEG.
There’s even an online petition carrying the voices of Malaysians to reject the hasty implementation of this poorly reviewed law. It goes to show that there are those among us in society that wouldn’t want an oppressive governing body and seek one that protects our free will.