Since December 2012, Australia became the first country in the world since the last quarter of 2012 to require all tobacco products to be sold in plain packages without any form of branding such as colours, images, corporate logos and trademarks. Though it was first proposed in New Zealand in 1989 and later in several countries, there was a serious hesitation towards plain cigarette packaging till Australia took the first step. This hesitation was due to the enormous challenges and open threats tobacco companies made to governments.
With reference to the news report Tobacco players ask for moderation in tax hike (7 August 2012), the CAP strongly urge the government to reject the request of the tobacco industry to impose ‘moderate’ tobacco tax in the pending Budget 2013.
We laud the Government of Malaysia and the Health Minister, Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai, for their concern over the potential impact of the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) on public health in Malaysia.
Is the recent dumping of unused medical items at the Penang Hospital just the tip of the iceberg to a much bigger problem of lack of supervision over procurement, use and disposal in government hospitals?
What society needs, and what consumers deserve is proactive action on the part of the government, namely the Ministry of Health, to ensure a proper monitoring system over all dealings of hospital with suppliers. It is not prudent spending for hospitals to waste taxpayers’ money to buy medical items in quantities or of types that they do not need, and then to simply discard them.
Malaysians are not drastically changing their lifestyles despite the millions spent by the Government to woo them with health campaigns. Are Malaysians lackadaisical and to be solely blamed for the ineffectiveness of the various health drives initiated, and for taxpayers’ money pumped into these campaigns going to waste?
The Government and the people should not be too shocked with the recent disclosure that more than RM500 million spent on health campaigns by the Health Ministry since the 1980s has not produced the desired lifestyle changes.
In a nutshell, what this means is that the message is either not reaching ordinary Malaysians or not having the needed impact to motivate them to transform their lives. Before we put the blame squarely on the shoulders of the people, we need to examine side-by-side the millions going into health campaigns against the advertising and patronage extended to the multinational corporations which produce the very products that are targeted.