The health ministry has agreed to amend the quantum of fines from RM5,000 to RM500 or community service orders for offences committed by the generational endgame (GEG) group born after Jan 1, 2007, under the Control of Tobacco Products and Smoking Bill 2022.
Minister Khairy Jamaluddin said this followed a meeting between the ministry and the parliamentary select committee on women, children and social development yesterday.
"To ensure that the act is not seen as punitive, the offences committed by the GEG group are only set a maximum fine of RM500 or community service. This group will be first offered compounds based on the offences committed," he said when presenting the bill for a second reading in the Dewan Rakyat yesterday.
Khairy said the health ministry had agreed to the amendments at the Dewan Rakyat committee level to prevent body checks from being conducted on anyone below 18 years of age.
He said the provision covering the possession of tobacco products, smoking equipment, tobacco-related products and smoking devices would also be amended.
Khairy said to ensure that the law is implemented well and in an orderly manner, the health ministry would continuously hold engagement sessions with stakeholders such as health-related NGOs.
He added that each provision under the bill would be constantly monitored and evaluated.
"The government will set up an independent administrative committee to check and monitor all provisions under the bill, including controls over the generations born after Jan 1, 2007," he said.
In the nearly 50-minute presentation, Khairy said the bill was very important and should no longer be delayed to help curb the practice of smoking in Malaysia, especially for the younger generation who would lead the nation.
He said the bill would also reduce the burden of treatment costs borne by the government for smoking-related diseases.
He also said it was the responsibility of the government to ensure that all children receive the best protection from any form of using dangerous tobacco products.
Khairy said the number of e-cigarette and vape users had been on the rise, especially among children and teenagers, since the products entered the Malaysian market in 2015.
He said the matter was worrying since control related to e-cigarettes and vaping cannot be fully implemented under the existing laws.
"The proposed full ban on the sale of e-cigarettes and vapes that was suggested for the GEG group is aimed at lowering the percentage of smokers to less than 5% of the Malaysian population and achieving a tobacco-free nation by 2040," he said.