Sunday, September 19

Sarawak to amend ordinance on smoking ban for uniformity


Abang Johari (third right) chats with Dr Sim, while Juma’ani (second right) speaks to Dr Sim’s mother Puan Sri Lim Siew Kheng. From left are Assistant Minister of Coastal Road Datuk Julaihi Narawi and Minister of Tourism, Arts, Culture, Youth and Sports Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah.

KUCHING: Sarawak will review and amend the Local Government Ordinance to ensure there is uniformity with federal laws on the smoking ban.

Minister of Local Government and Housing Datuk Dr Sim Kui Hian said there should not be two conflicting laws on the matter.

He said as the Sarawak ordinance on the smoking ban has not been amended, enforcement had to follow federal law.

Dr Sim said he has discussed standardising the laws with the Ministry of Health.

He added the model currently adopted by the Kuching North City Commission (DBKU) would also be considered.

He explained that two years ago, DBKU created smoking and non-smoking zones under an anti-smoking campaign by using several existing council ordinances and by-laws.

Dr Sim also pointed out that enforcement on the smoking ban at eateries in Sarawak, which begins on March 1, would take time to be fully implemented.

A six-month educational period, during which no compounds would be issued, is necessary to allow operators and smokers to digest the situation, he said.

“We have to consider the situation of smokers as they too need space for smoking and education on the anti-smoking campaign,” said the Sarawak United People’s Party (SUPP) president after Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg and wife Datin Patinggi Datuk Amar Juma’ani Tuanku Bujang visited his Chinese New Year open house on Wednesday.

After the education period, offenders found smoking at banned places could be fined and/or jailed.

According to existing federal laws, offenders can be fined up to RM10,000 or imprisoned for a maximum two years, while eatery owners who fail to put up ‘No Smoking’ signs can be fined up to RM3,000 or imprisoned for up to six months.