The Malaysian government is in talks with with tobacco companies over intellectual property rights before proceeding to implement plain packaging law for cigarettes in the future.
According to reports from the Malay Mail Online, Health minister Datuk S. Subramaniam said the ministry will not require tobacco companies to replace existing brand-centric packaging with plain ones, until Putrajaya can ensure it does not violate any intellectual property laws.
Referring to the World Health Organisation’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC), he expressed the Health ministry’s commitment in wanting to “continue in the direction of plain packaging.”
The FCTC is a set of international guidelines on how tobacco should be packaged and labelled.
The Malay Mail Online reports that plans to standardise colours and fonts of tobacco products packaging were in the talks since last month, with aims to reduce brand recognition.
Around the region, Australia has already implemented plain packaging of tobacco since December 2012, where tobacco company logos on the packets are outlawed. Neighbour Singapore just recently announced a ban on displaying tobacco products in shops.