Smoking ban enforcement won’t be seasonal, health minister warns

Danial Dzulkifly
Health Minister Datuk Seri Dzulkefly Ahmad speaks to the media in Putrajaya January 3, 2019. — Picture by Mukhriz Hazim

PUTRAJAYA, Jan 3 ― The Ministry of Health has assured the public today that it will remain vigilant and not act in a lackadaisical attitude in enforcing the smoking ban on eateries.

Using the Malay idiom “hangat hangat tahi ayam’’ referring to short-live enthusiasm, Health Minister Datuk Seri Dzulkefly Ahmad said the ban is not merely another health campaign, but instead, a step forward for Malaysians to be healthier.

“For us at the ministry, it is pertinent to ensure that the smoking ban is not just a campaign but will become part of our culture.

“[The enforcement of the ban] will not be a one-off thing, it will not be seasonal but it will be done throughout the year, throughout our life. It will be a 24-hour thing,’’ he said to the press after a site visit to the Precinct 9 food court here.

However Dzulkefly also assured smokers that their so-called “right to smoke” will not be taken away, and the ministry is currently receiving feedback from the public while it discusses means to provide a designated smoking areas for smokers.

As of January 2, the ministry have issued 2,500 warnings, visited 5,746 premises while engaging 10,934 individuals on the smoking ban, Dzulkefly said.

To clear the air on the rule which allow smokers to only puff 3m (10 feet) away from any eateries, Dzulkefly added that the distance is calculated from the furthest table of any establishment.

Also present was Deputy Health Minister Lee Boon Chye, The Housing and Local Government Minister Zuraida Kamaruddin and Health Ministry Director General Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah.

For members of the public who would like to lodge a complaint on the smoking ban, they can do so via the Health Ministry Hotline at 03-8892 4530 or 010-8608 949.

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