PETALING JAYA: Issues linked to vaping are a national matter that have nothing to do with race, said Kelantan MCA secretary Datuk Lua Choon Hann.
In hitting out at Rural and Regional Development Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri's suggestion that it would "kill the Malay-dominated industry", Lua said the matter should not be politicised.
"Any responsible government will put the people's health and well-being first. Nothing should override this," he said in a statement yesterday.
Ismail had been reported as saying that the Health Ministry's directive to only allow licensed pharmacists and registered medical practitioners to sell nicotine-laced vapes would "kill the Malay-dominated industry".
He also said in a Facebook posting on Tuesday that the move would mean that vape sellers could no longer be in business "as giant companies own the pharmacies, including the foreign ones".
Ismail hoped the Health Ministry would review its proposal by taking into account the losses that these businesses might incur.
Lua said the vaping issue comes under the purview and discretion of the Health Ministry, which has its own mechanisms for testing and verification.
Former International Trade and Industry Minister Tan Sri Rafidah Aziz said the issue of doing business and the regulation of its substance were two separate matters.
"To my mind, the issue of public concern is the substance, such as the liquids, that is used for vaping. The controls provided for in the law, including enforcement measures by the Health Ministry are to safeguard public health and safety, in particular from 'illegal backyard' and unscrupulous formulation of vaping liquids such as nicotine and the dangerous adulteration with harmful chemicals," she said.
She said encroaching into the formulation and sale of the vaping liquids and substances were illegal except by pharmacists.
"This is provided for by existing laws. However, the law must prevail and be respected, especially those meant to safeguard public health and the abuse of system," she said.