In an about face that demonstrated support for the country’s public health, Indonesia’s government said on Wednesday that it had refused to deliberate on a tobacco bill that sought to boost cigarette production, according to a story in The Jakarta Post.
This is the second time the government has rejected such a proposal from the House of Representatives. The bill was voided last year following opposition from the Health Ministry.
Ending his ambivalence to tobacco, President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo, whose administration had earlier issued a road map for the industry that sought to triple cigarette production to 524 billion by 2020, was described as having made a bold move that has put him at odds with one of the country’s oldest industries; one that employs millions of workers.
Cabinet Secretary Pramono Anung was quoted as saying that Jokowi would not issue a presidential letter to approve the House proposal to start discussion of the bill.
Without the letter, the House cannot begin deliberations; so if the House does not receive a letter from the government by the given deadline of March 19, the bill will be voided.