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Local retail businesses to write a letter to ministries on improving GEG Bill

The discussions on GEG have been health-related instead of touching on issues regarding HR, women or the economy, says Lembah Pantai MP

by AZALEA AZUAR / pic AFP

MALAYSIAN retail businesses will be writing a letter to relevant ministries to conduct proper and thorough engagements for those who are impacted by the proposed Generational Endgame (GEG) Bill 2022.

These associations include the Malaysian Singapore Coffeeshop Proprietors’ General Association (MSCSPGA), Malaysian Indian Restaurant Owners Association (Primas), Malaysian Muslim Restaurant Owners Association (Presma) and Federation of Sundry Goods Merchants Associations Malaysia (FSGMAM).

According to Petaling Jaya Coffeeshop Association president Keu Kok Meng, it is planning to write to Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob or other relevant ministries who are concerned about this bill.

“So, hopefully why they say whether it’s too late, because the next mention is regarding this bill, whether it’s going to be important at the next Parliament sitting,” he said in a press conference today.

This action was suggested by Lembah Pantai MP Ahmad Fahmi Mohamed Fadzil who also attended the event.

“Associations have the right to send a memorandum to address this issue which is not only related to the Ministry of Health.

“The Cabinet ministers also play a role so I urge you to convey your message to the relevant ministries such as the Ministry of Human Resources, Ministry of Finance and the Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Ministry,” he said.

Since the scope of the Parliament Special Select Committee (PSSC) is limited, Ahmad Fahmi explained that it is difficult for these issues to reach Parliament.

The discussions on GEG have been health-related instead of touching on issues regarding Human Resources (HR), women, or even the economy so he believes the demands of these associations are not unreasonable.

“They did not ask for the bill to be dropped. I hereby announce a letter from a member of the SSC to consider this bill.”

Primas honorary secretary N Shanmugan explained that the sales of tobacco in retail stores made up approximately 30% of their revenue.

“Over the past few years, the pandemic has severely impacted the business and our members are slowly getting back on their feet after two years of several business disruptions.

“So, the drastic measure proposed in the GEG will impact the retailer operations and businesses,” he said.

Therefore, they hoped the government and the PSSC to conduct a detailed study and consultation of some of the difficulties that these frontline workers had to deal with.

MSCSPGA president Wong Teu Hoon addressed that it has not been consulted on the GEG Bill nor received any briefing on the implementation of the proposed measures that were reported in the media.

“We are supportive of MoH’s agenda in reducing the number of smokers in Malaysia.

“All we ask is to be invited and consulted so that our views are heard and taken into consideration,” he said.

Primas president J Suresh was concerned that retail operators will be required to conduct the ID checks which itself will cause certain tensions in-store.

Those who are born after 2007 will also not be allowed to work in shops that sell cigarettes, which in turn causes a spike in operating costs for these small businesses and will leave them.

On the other hand, FSGMAM president Hong Chee Meng mentioned that retailers are concerned about the penalties listed under GEG where any retailer caught selling cigarettes to a person in the GEG will be fined a minimum of RM30,000 or face imprisonment of up to three years or both.

“As many lawyers are already claiming that GEG is against the federal Constitution, retailers do not want to be dragged to court when the GEG is eventually challenged legally,” said Presma president Datuk Jawahar Ali Taib Khan. 

Zukri

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