State govt to discuss with stakeholders first before enforcing smoking ban at all eateries

Cigarettes. — DayakDaily.com file pic. //Photo: Pixabay
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KUCHING, Dec 23: The ban on smokers from lighting up at any public eateries would not be applicable to Sarawak until the state Local Government Ordinance adopts the federal government’s proposal.

Minister of Housing and Local Government Datuk Dr Sim Kui Hian said that Sarawak has its own Local Government Ordinance for its public eateries due to its autonomy.

However he told DayakDaily that in time his ministry will hold a discussion with various stakeholders including coffeeshop associations to find out if the ruling is applicable to Sarawak.

“Smoking is bad not for personal health but also the public or second-hand smokers. All measures should be taken to encourage smokers to quit as so far in Malaysia, we have not been very successful,” he told DayakDaily.

Deputy Health Minister Dr Lee Boon Chye had announced that the smoking ban will be enforced nationwide at all eateries, air-conditioned and non-air-conditioned, including restaurants, coffee shops, open-air hawker centres and street stalls from Jan 1 next year.

Those found smoking in prohibited areas would be fined RM10,000, and eateries found not enforcing the ban will be fined RM2,500.

Dr Lee urged members of the public to act as its ‘eyes and ears’ when the smoking ban at all restaurants and eateries is fully enforced nationwide, by lodging complaints directly to the ministry via its hotline at 03-8892 4530.

“During this enforcement period, it is important that this is not done just by the ministry but also with the cooperation of the public.

“The government is widening the scope of non-smoking zones not just to bring down the numbers of smokers but to also protect the rights of those who do not smoke so that they will not be exposed to secondhand smoke, and protect their health,” he told reporters after attending a lunch session with the Perak Chinese Schools Council Committee earlier today (Dec 23, 2018). — DayakDaily