KUALA LUMPUR: The High Court today ordered the Health Ministry director-general and three others to file their statement of defence over the suit filed by the Small and Medium-Scale Entrepreneurs Organisation of Malaysia (Ikhlas) concerning the confiscation of e-cigarettes or vape products belonging to Ikhlas members in Johor.

Counsel Zulhasmi Zakaria, representing Ikhlas as the plaintiff, said Deputy Registrar Siti Nur Shafrida Hashim ordered the defendants to file their statement within two weeks from today and set Feb 17 for case management.

Zulhasmi said the case management would be mentioned before Judge Datuk John Louis O'Hara.

He said they were still waiting for the federal government to decide whether or not it would enforce the ban on vaping, as the case would depend on the decision.

Ikhlas filed the suit on Dec 28, 2015, and named the Health Ministry director-general, Domestic Trade, Cooperatives and Consumerism Ministry director-general, Johor Baharu City Council (MBJB) and Inspector-General of Police as defendants.

The suit was filed following an integrated operation mounted by the authorities on Dec 15, 2015, which raided and confiscated vape products belonging to several Ikhlas members at a business premises in Johor, resulting in losses of about RM400,000.

In its statement of claims, Ikhlas seeks a court order to rule that all the actions of the defendants in raiding and confiscating the vape products including the devices, mods and flavour liquid, belonging to its members as illegal, wrong and null.

It also seeks that the vape ban through state-level enforcement, especially by local authorities, such as MBJB, be deemed as ultra vires and contravening the law.

In addition, the plaintiff seeks that the court prohibit the defendants from raiding, confiscating and imposing compound fines on Ikhlas members for the sale of vape products, and to order the return of the seized products within seven days of the order.

The plaintiff claimed that MBJB's refusal to issue business licences to vape traders was mala fide, contravened the law and violated the rights of citizens as provided under the Federal Constitution. The plaintiff also seek general, special, punitive and aggravated damages amounting to RM1 million, as well as interest and other relief deemed fit by the court.

Source from AstroAwani

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