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COMMENT | Good laws cannot be rushed – lessons from NZ on smoking ban

COMMENT | The Tobacco and Smoking Control Bill 2022 (the so-called Generational End Game (GEG) Bill) has been referred by the Health Minister’s motion to a newly formed Parliamentary Special Select Committee for further deliberation before the second and third readings.

Even if you are a supporter of the GEG bill, this should be celebrated as good news. Why? Even good laws should not be rushed through, and legislative deliberation would only improve them.

Besides Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin’s move, credit should also be given to two opposition leaders, PKR president Anwar Ibrahim and Warisan president Shafie Apdal, who attempted to move a motion under Standing Order (SO) 54 of the Dewan Rakyat. I believe, among others, MP for Bakri Yeo Bee Yin’s comment had also left a significant impact on the government’s response.

Why is New Zealand’s government ‘not arrogant’?

Our GEG Bill is inspired by New Zealand but, as pointed out by Yeo, the time given to MPs in both countries to deliberate on the bills is starkly different – four months in New Zealand and one week in Malaysia.

Laws – even good laws - cannot be rushed because they may have unintended consequences. That’s why we need MPs to...

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