Khairy Jamaluddin has criticised the health minister’s silence over her fellow minister’s confusion of well-documented medical facts that smoking causes cancer.
He expressed his dismay over the lack of correction from Health Minister Dr Zaliha Mustafa, who is entrusted with safeguarding public health.
“It’s absolutely embarrassing and shameful that there is a minister in 2023 in Malaysia that questions the link between cigarette smoking and cancer,” Khairy said.
He expressed disappointment that Dr Zaliha had not intervened or corrected her colleague’s statements, characterising the lack of response as “extremely disheartening” and “appalling.”
“Misleading statements, would lead youngsters to underestimate the dangers of smoking.
“You have got a perfect storm for a lot of youngsters to suddenly pick up smoking with their cigarettes or vape.
“The reason I’m so angry is because this is not just an assault on science and medical facts, but this is an attack on public health and the health minister is just completely helpless.
“If a minister questions medical science and the custodian of public health remains silent, what message does it send to the public?” he questioned, emphasising on the gravity of the situation.
Earlier Khairy, or KJ as he is popularly known, who is the Johor Youth Advisor, participated in the Jewel Butterfly Walk 2023, in conjunction with the United Nations’ declaration of Nov 18 as the “World Day for the Prevention of and Healing from Child Sexual Exploitation, Abuse and Violence.
The walk was held at the Tunku Mahkota Ismail Youth Centre in Hutan Bandar, Johor Baru (TMIYC), here, today.
On the Tobacco and Smoking Control Bill, or tobacco generational endgame (GEG), KJ raised concerns about the legality of selling cigarettes and vape to those born after 2007 and potential risks of mixed messaging regarding smoking-related health hazards.
He said he was perplexed over the sudden change in stance by the Attorney General regarding a law he had previously brought forward during his tenure as the health minister.
With the flip-flop in legal opinions, he speculated that the decision might be driven more by political motives than legal concerns.
“I can only assume that it’s not a point of law, but rather political,” he said while refusing to personalise the issue as a direct attack against him.
He added that during his tenure as the health minister, the legal aspect of the bill was brought to the AG’s chambers and was told it was fine, although there were some weaknesses to the law, and needed to be fine-tuned.
He also called for an appropriate response from the health ministry to reinforce established medical facts and the revisitation of pertinent legislation for the welfare of the nation. – NST