Last month, Deputy Health Minister Dr Lee Boon Chye said the ministry was pushing for a smoking ban on open-air eatery places and today, it had been confirmed.
According to China Press, Dr Lee said the gazettement on all restaurants nationwide as no-smoking zones would start January 1 next year, regardless if it’s non-air-conditioned restaurants or open-air food vendors.
He said that in the past, the Ministry of Health only listed government buildings, air-conditioned restaurants, public transportation, and parks as no-smoking areas, while non-air-conditioned restaurants were not in the no-smoking area unless the applicants applied for a no-smoking area.
The deputy minister also said the current law is sufficed to for the ministry to implement the decree without the need to enact a new Act.
“If a person smokes in a non-smoking area, he may face a fine of up to RM10,000 or a maximum imprisonment of 2 years. If there the operator does not adhere to this policy, he will be fined RM2,500,” said the Gopeng MP.
He made the announcement when he was speaking at the Asian Institute of Medical, Science and Technology in Kedah today (Oct 11), Straits Times reported.
When Dr Lee first announced the ministry’s intention to ban smoking in al fresco restaurants, some citizens were unhappy with it.
“During our engagement with industrial peers, coffee shop and restaurant owners, there were some reservations, but the general public is open and accepting of the plan.
“Smokers will say they have the right to smoke, but non-smokers also have the right to smoke-free areas.”
He said the gazettement wasn’t only an effort to discourage smoking habits in Malaysia, it was also a move to protect non-smokers from second-hand smoking.