Kuala Lumpur – The Federation of Malaysian Manufacturers (FMM) is concerned with the domino effect on the business community and the country’s economy arising from the proposed Control of Tobacco Product and Smoking Bill 2022 which includes the tobacco Generational Endgame (GEG) policy.
Whilst we agree that steps need to be taken to reduce the smoking prevalence in Malaysia, measures such as GEG need to be viewed more holistically with close engagement with all stakeholders especially those related to the tobacco and vape supply chain, such as manufacturers, warehouse, logistics, distributors, sundry retailers, convenience stores as well as coffee shops. If not managed properly, the implementation of the bill may even cause increase in unemployment rates in the long run as businesses involved in the supply chain of these products could be forced to trim down their workforce due to lower revenue.
We also cannot discount the impact of such policies on foreign investors. Malaysia could
be perceived as a restrictive country, which will discourage foreign direct investments as the GEG policy sets a precedent that could be imposed onto other industries in the future for similar reasons.
Focus should be on addressing illicit tobacco products that are rampant in Malaysia where close to 60% of products sold are smuggled. The GEG policy does not address this issue and instead may lead to worsening the illegal cigarette trading activities further. It is therefore important for the Government to come up with a win-win and holistic solutions for both the Government and the industry in findings ways to reduce smoking prevalence without taking drastic steps especially in the current economic climate.
The business community and the rakyat are already facing enough challenges, such as the rising cost of goods and raw materials and labour shortages. There needs to be better engagement with stakeholders in the supply chain for the industry to find a middle ground on the matter.