Changes to public health laws: Animals, pets prohibited in food premises, penalties hiked to RM10,000

Photo for illustration purposes only. Photo credit: Pixabay

By Karen Bong

KUCHING, May 7: The Protection of Public Health (Amendment) Bill 2024, passed in the Sarawak Legislative Assembly (DUN) today, will prohibit animals or pets from entering any food premises and significantly increase penalties related to public health violations to RM10,000.

Deputy Premier and Minister of Public Health, Housing and Local Government Datuk Amar Dr Sim Kui Hian, when introducing the amendment bill, emphasised that Section 2 of the Strata Title Ordinance 1995 will be amended to reflect the new Strata (Subsidiary Titles) Ordinance 2019.


The proposed amendments aim to bolster provisions concerning licensing and cleanliness of food premises, with amendment to Section 23 by adding a new sub paragraph (3) which is to prohibut animals or pets from entering food premises.

“This is to ensure the health of the public and consumers are protected from unacceptable and unhygienic food premises,” he said when tabling the Bill today.

Furthermore, the Bill addresses the general licensing conditions for food premises, with proposed new provision to enable local authorities to issue temporary licence to those without licence while giving them timeframe to comply with the requirements of other relevant laws.

“The present provision of Section 22 of the Ordinance prohibited the usage or operation of food premises without licence. Some of these food premises operators cannot be issued with licence just because they are unable to comply with the provisions under the Local Authorities Ordinance, 1996 and Building Ordinance, 1994 or any other laws,” he explained.

Explaining the rationale behind the amendments, Dr Sim pointed out the necessity to update penalties, citing an increase from RM3,000 to RM10,000 in Section 62.

“The penalty has never been increased since the Ordinance came into force in 2000,” he added. — DayakDaily