Indonesia - section on tobacco in health bill disappears..

October 14, 2009 - 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, October 14th.

A plenary session of the House of Representatives on Monday, September 14th approved four bills, a new record for a legislature scrambling to make good on its lawmaking duties. With only about a third of lawmakers attending, the House endorsed the anti-narcotics, health, immigration and hajj bills in short order.

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 could automatically be restored into the Law, as it has been passed during the house plenary session.

State Secretary Hatta Radjasa said Tuesday the law, passed by the House of Representatives last month, was already missing the sub-article when his office received it. He said he had contacted the Health Ministry and the Justice and Human Rights. “The way it works is, the State Secretariat receives endorsed bills signed by the House speaker to be submitted to the President. Then we do a check to see if the document is in line with agreements reached by the government and the House.” A bill only becomes law once the president has signed it.

Meanwhile, the former chairwoman of the house's health bill special committee, Ribka Tjiptaning, said the committee was not responsible for the missing clause. "Up until the plenary session, the clause was still there. The clause never went missing,” she said. (hdt)

Reference: Tobacco Disappears From Health Law, Cigarettes News Online, 10/2009; President, House responsible for missing health law clause scandal; Indonesia House Headed for Overtime, Indonesia This Day, 9/14/2009; Govt denies involvement in missing tobacco article, Erwida Maulia, The Jakarta Post, 10/13/2009.

Indonesia related news briefs:
Indonesia - Constitutional Court by close vote rules that tobacco ads can continue..;
Indonesia - parent smoking can negatively affect the nutrition of children..;
Indonesia - new council member suspect in cigarette fraud case..;
Indonesia - an NGO commission assists cigarettes must be banned in films..
Indonesia - a paradise for tobacco companies..
Indonesia - after buying cigarettes very little left for food..;
Indonesia - will they ratify the first world public health treaty..;
Indonesia - last paradise to smoke in public places in Southeast Asia..;
Indonesia - Industry minister to close tobacco to new foreign investment..;
Indonesia Finance Ministry to cap tax deductions for tobacco companies..;
Indonesia - Smoking hits poor families the hardest, making the poor even poorer..;
Indonesia - Cigarette makers defy crisis, grows stronger..;
Indonesia - government may raise cigarette excise tax next year..;
WHO - Indonesia is crying out for your help..;
Indonesia - dispute with U.S. over banning the use of clove in cigarettes..;
Indonesia 'cash cow' for Philip Morris International..;
Tobacco industry has long targeted young people as "replacement smokers";
Indonesia - district court dismisses request to ratify FCTC..;
Asean Countries - Tobacco Industry Blocking Global Treaty On Tobacco..; Indonesia - farmers hold rally protest tobacco controls..;
Indonesia - tobacco farmers reject Islamic council's edict..;
Indonesia - Ulema Council - debate results is split on smoking..;
Indonesia - Withdraw Sponsorhip of Another Rock Concert..;
Indonesia to increase tax on tobacco products..;
Semarang, Indonesia - Cigarette Smoking Areas to be Prepared..;
Jakarta, Indonesia - Malls help enforce non-smoking ban..;
Indonesia - federal anti-smoking laws in one year - MAYBE..;
Indonesia - NGO's (non-government organizations) Demand the Government Ratify WHO's FCTC.;
Indonesia to raise cigarette tax by 6 to 7% in 2009..;
Surabaya, Indonesia - anti-smoking bylaw 10/2009 - FOR REAL??
Indonesians smoking more than ever before..;
Indonesia further rise in the excise tax would hurt the cigarette industry..;
Alicia Keys - Jakarta Concert (July 31st) tobacco companies forced to withdraw sponsorship.. and
Most Indonesians support moves to ban tobacco advertisements...