Authorities Should Not Allow Holding of Tobacco EXPO

Media Statement
M. Kula Segaran

(Ipoh, Friday): According to media reports, a tobacco expo is likely to be held in Kuala Lumpur in November, although the Health Ministry of Malaysia has said that it is against it and has told the organizers to hold it outside Malaysia. 

The organizers are said to have received approval from Kuala Lumpur City Hall; they have already set up a website on the event.


The Malaysian Council for Tobacco Control has already come out against the expo. Its president Prof. Dr Syed Mohamed Aljunid has said that the expo should be cancelled, as it would only diminish efforts taken against smoking in Malaysia.


We fully support the stand of Malaysian Council for Tobacco Control. Allowing the expo to be held in Malaysia would make a complete mockery of our efforts to discourage smoking in the country. It would send the wrong and dangerous message that the authorities do not mind tobacco publicity and tobacco smoking promotions.


Prime Minister Dato Seri Abdullah should be firm on this very important matter and not compromise. He should ban the expo, and order the Kula Lumpur City Hall to withdraw any approval it has issued to the organizers. In fact, the Prime Minster should ask for an explanation from the Datuk Bandar of Kuala Lumpur and the Federal Territory Minister, why an approval was ever given.


The health interests of Malaysians cannot and must not be sacrificed for some tourist dollars or ringgit.


Health Minister Datuk Chua Soi Lek should make this matter an issue of principle. If the government goes ahead to allow the holding of the expo, then he should resign as Health Minister as a matter of principle.


The government¡¦s decision on this expo will be the litmus test of its commitment to reduce or even stop tobacco smoking in the country. We are waiting to see whether this government will pass or fail this litmus test.




* M. Kula Segaran, MP for Ipoh Barat, and DAP National Vice Chairman