Eatery operators appeal for smoking ban to be implemented in stages

No Smoking sign.

By Lian Cheng

KUCHING, March 10: Sibu Coffeeshop and Restaurant Owners’ Association has appealed to the federal government to implement the smoking ban in Sarawak in stages.

Its chairman, Tong Ing Kok, agreed with the new policy but stressed that the coffee shop and restaurant owners needed time to fully carry out the government’s new policy.

“It is the government’s policy, and we have to implement it. However, in terms of enforcement, I hope the government will give us more time. The government may implement it stage by stage.

“Both the smokers and us — the coffee shop and restaurant operators — are affected. We all need time to adjust to the new policy. What we are asking is not to instantly impose it on us. We won’t be able to take it.

“But I do understand that whatever it is, it has been passed as a law, and we will gradually come to terms with it,” Tong told DayakDaily.

He said the operators had been given six months as grace period for the implementation.

“We do know that the government is giving us a period of six months to prepare ourselves for it and hope that they will stick to their promise and not to take us to task,” said Tong.

He said there were between 600 and 700 coffee shops, restaurants and cafes in Sibu, where about 360 of them are registered with the association as members.

Sarawak has agreed to implement the smoking ban on eateries since March 1 this year.

Miri Coffeeshop Association has, in its 43rd Gala Night and annual dinner on Saturday (March 9), called on to the federal government to give them time to adjust to the new policy. — DayakDaily