PETALING JAYA, Jan 3 — A man caught flouting the smoking ban inside a restaurant in Shah Alam, Selangor is now wanted by the police — not for puffing away in a smoke-free zone but for assaulting the waiter who tried to stop him from lighting up.
Police are asking the smoker whose assault was caught on the restaurant’s CCTV to turn himself in for investigation under Section 323 of the Penal Code for voluntarily causing hurt to another.
Shah Alam police chief Assistant Commissioner Baharudin Mat Taib said the waiter working at Restoran Ameer Corner in Seksyen 25 spotted three people smoking inside the premises in violation of the smoking ban around 12.30pm on January 1 — the day the no smoking rule in eateries was implemented.
“The 25-year-old waiter from India approached the suspect politely but was immediately slapped on the face by a suspect shortly before the trio left the premises after making payment,” the senior policeman said.
The waiter reported the incident to the local restaurant owner who later filed a police complaint on the assault of his employee.
The waiter did not suffer any serious injury to his face, the policeman said.
Baharudin said police have the CCTV footage of the incident and testimony from witnesses too.
“There were also two other workers and five patrons at the time of the incident. The waiter also claimed that the suspect was a non-regular at the restaurant,” the policeman said.
Baharudin hopes the suspect will voluntarily turn himself in to the police for his statement to be recorded.
He added that the restaurant owner lodged a police report as a safeguard against being reprimanded by the authorities for not observing the regulations of the smoking ban.
Malaysia has banned smoking in certain public spaces such as restaurants, including al fresco ones, starting last Tuesday.
Anyone found guilty of smoking in prohibited areas can be fined up to RM10,000 or jailed up to two years under Regulation 11 of the Control of Tobacco Product Regulations 2004.
Premises or vehicle owners and operators who fail to display the smoking ban signage can be fined up to RM3,000 or jailed up to six months under Regulation 12 of the Control of Tobacco Product Regulations 2004.
For the offence of failing to ensure that nobody smokes and for providing smoking facilities, they can be fined up to RM5,000 or imprisoned up to one year.
However, the Health Ministry is giving a six-month grace period to restaurant operators and their patrons and will start enforcing the law only from July 1.
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