Govt aims to ratify tobacco treaty

Selasa, 20 Agustus 2013 | 09:29

The Health Ministry is once again pursuing to ratify the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC), despite severe rejection from the tobacco industry.“We asked for the President’s permission to ratify the FCTC through the Foreign Minister and discussed it with other ministries,” Health Minister, Nafsiah Mboi told reporters at her office on Thursday. “We will further discuss it with other stakeholders on August 19th.”

Nafsiah said that Indonesia is the only Asian countries and, along with Somalia, one of the only two Muslim countries that have not ratified the treaty.

“Indonesia is among 192 countries that formulated the treaty with the World Health Organization (WHO), but has not yet ratified it,” she said.

Nafsiah said that the ministry will still face severe rejection from the tobacco industry to ratify the treaty. However, by ratifying the treaty the government meant no harm against the industry or tobacco farmers.

“Within the FCTC, basically there are no regulation to ban tobacco production,” Nafsiah said. “The treaty aims to protect the public by controlling tobacco advertising, to prohibit the youth from smoking and regulate the harm to passive smokers,” she said.

The minister said the government needed to work hard to get approval from the House of Representatives, which had long been reluctant to support tobacco control.

In 2009, the House’s Commission IX on health and welfare affairs proposed a bill on the impact of tobacco products. The House’s legislation body (Baleg) turned it down, citing the huge socio-economic implications of the bill for citizens, tobacco farmers in particular.

In 2011, the commission revised the bill and proposed it under a new name; the bill on public health protection from the threats of cigarettes and similar products. The bill, which was adapted from the FCTC, was later rejected.

Golkar Party lawmaker Poempida Hidayatullah said recently that by ratifying the treaty the government is putting the fate of tobacco industry workers at risk.

“It is not impossible that the there would be massive layoffs [following the ratification of the treaty,” Poempida said as quoted by

Poempida said that the Health Minister’s plan to immediately ratify the treaty was not in line with President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono’s mission to improve the country’s economic growth.

Poempida said that of the measurements of economic growth was when every one percent of growth could provide jobs for 450,000 people. “In the context of ratifying the FCTC, the Health Minister is basically denying the President’s mission,” Poempida said. (Nadya Natahadibrata)

by Dyah Megasari