Smoking, non-smoking zones at eateries safeguard public health, Dr Sim told

Voon Shiak Ni (file pic)

KUCHING, Dec 24: Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) National Women vice-chief Voon Shiak Ni suggests that Sarawak segregates smoking and non-smoking zones at eateries, too.

She was responding to the statement by Minister of Housing and Local Government Datuk Dr Sim Kui Hian that the State Local Government Ordinance is autonomous and that the state government would not enforce the no-smoking ban together with the federal government starting Jan 1, 2019.

“Dr Sim is correct in the sense that local council in Sarawak has its own local council ordinance and coffee shops comes under the purview of the Sarawak local councils,” she said in a statement today.

However, Voon said she supported Deputy Health Minister Dr Lee Boon Chye’s announcement on the smoking ban as this policy was meant to safeguard public health and to protect non-smokers from secondhand tobacco smoke, which is a serious health hazard.

Voon, who is also the state special officer for the Federal Housing and Local Government, said the smoking ban was a positive move to help safeguard and promote public health.

“We take pride in having our autonomy on certain affairs affecting our state to safeguard our state rights and the interests of Sarawakians.

“But this is a public health-related issue, and we do hope that the issue will not be politicised,” she opined.

Voon, however, acknowledged the concerns by coffee shop owners who are worried that their businesses might be affected if the state enforces the smoking ban.

“We understand the concerns, and in the circumstances, I do propose for Dr Sim to look into the suggestion to segregate smoking and non-smoking zones in public eateries for the benefit of the public.

“I use to see families with children at public eateries and to have some form of smoking ban is for their sake,” she reiterated.

Voon said the smoking ban should be viewed as a positive move and to be taken positively.

“I am sure it will bring long-term benefits to the overall social well-being of our society,” she said — DayakDaily