Oct. 7, 2009

Tobacco Disappears From Health Law

A section regulating tobacco as an addictive substance in the newly passed Health Law has been removed despite approvals from the legislative and executive branch, a former lawmaker has revealed on Wednesday.
Hakim Sorimuda Pohan, a former member of the drafting committee of the health law who was no longer elected for the 2009-2014 term said on Wednesday during a discussion on “Corruption on Health Law” in Jakarta, that Section 2 of Article 113 could not be found in the final document at the House of Representatives.
The missing section was written as follow: ”Addictive substance as referred in section (1) includes tobacco; solid, liquid, and gas products that contain tobacco which are addictive and could harm its users and or their immediate surroundings.”
Hakim said the change could come from the legislative or the executive branch and said the Health Department have denied any knowledge about the change. Hakim said exclusion of the section is a criminal offense, and should be thoroughly investigated to bring the perpetrator(s) to justice.
Kartono Muhammad a health expert which was also a member of the drafting team said punishment should remain to be imposed to the perpetrators although the section could be automatically re-incorporated into the article.
Chairman of the Indonesian Consumers Foundation (Yayasan lembaga Konsumen Indonesia) Tulus Abadi said this is the first time such crime was uncovered. While a researcher from the Political Corruption Division of the Indonesia Corruption Watch, Abdullah Dahlan said the section cold automatically be restored into the Law, as it has been passed during the house plenary session.