Penang Association Slams myNews For Hesitance On Generational End Game Plan To Ban Tobacco

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Just last week, Khairy Jamaluddin delayed his suggested generational smoking ban application until 2025, as opposed to the previous proposal to start it next year. He also changed those who would be affected by this plan from the 2005 generation to the 2007 generation.

The generational endgame (GEG) plan would impact many people, including retailers who sell tobacco such as convenience stores and gas stations.

myNews Retail Sdn Bhd chimed into the conversation today and stated that over 500 of their outlets all over the country will lose out on their revenue.

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The retailer believes that the ban will only incite the smuggling and sales of illegal cigarettes even more.

“With a market share of over 60 per cent, the enforcement agencies are already struggling to stop the illegal cigarette trade.

“A total ban allows the smuggling syndicates to control the entire market. Will the enforcement agencies be able to stop this? The ultimate beneficiary of this ban will be the criminal syndicates,” said its statement.

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myNews also stressed the fact that it would be difficult to implement the ban because it heavily relies on the retailers or end sellers who are the ones expected to comply with the ban.

“We will need to ask for the buyer’s identification card to ensure that the buyer meets the age criteria to buy cigarettes. This contradicts The Personal Data Protection Act 2010 (PDPA), and not everybody is comfortable sharing their personal information with strangers.”

According to Malay Mail, the retailer also expressed disappointment, saying that the government should have focused on educating the future generation on the dangers and harmful consequences of cigarettes and tobacco before enforcing the law, “restricting their freedom of choice.”

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The Consumers’ Association of Penang (CAP) caught wind of myNews’ statement and debunked it, stating that the retailer sells more than just tobacco products at their outlets.

CAP education officer N.V. Subbarow claimed that “the sale of cigarettes only contributed to 30 per cent of the total business. Which part that the GEG implementation will cause them losses, when they still have a lot of customers?”

According to NST, Subbarow said that the statement made by myNews about contradicting the PDPA by being forced to show their identity card is false.

Apparently, it does not conflict with the law because the retailer would only have to check the buyer’s year of birth to confirm that they are not part of the targeted GEG group – those born after 2007. #TobaccoHarmReduction - Join The Cause :)

“At present, myNews did not check the identity card of the customers purchasing cigarettes and alcohol to make sure that they are allowed to buy the products according to the law,” said Subbarow who also asked if it these were just excuses.

The law proposed that offenders who sell tobacco to those part of the GEG would face a penalty of RM20,000 fine.

Today Khairy mentioned that there will be no criminal record or jail time for offenders, and they would only be compounded a maximum of RM50.

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