Thursday, December 7

MySihat to help make Kuching Waterfront an anti-smoking zone


KUCHING: MySihat, formerly known as Malaysia Health Promotion Board, will be conducting a public survey at the Kuching Waterfront with the aim of implementing an anti-smoking zone in the area probably by October this year.

The initiative, according to MySihat chief executive officer Datuk Dr Yahya Baba, will give added-value to public places.

“We will first launch the smoke-free campaign in Limbang during the Bukit Mas Festival,” said Dr Yahya after the Alcohol Abuse Intervention Project (Pipa) workshop at DBNA hall here yesterday.

He added that similar initiatives had already commenced in major areas in Malacca, Penang, Johor and Kelantan.

“Before implementing the campaign in Kuching, we must conduct a survey on the locals as well as tourists.”

He said the project would not be confined to the ministry of health and relevant agencies. It would also involve other ministries such as tourism and youth and sports in order to reach out to bigger audience.

On the Pipa workshop, Dr Yahya said that the programme was aimed at reducing the number of alcohol abuse which had led to social and health problems. He said Pipa is a community-based project which involves students of higher institutes of learning and individuals from residential areas.

“This year, we are making inroads into four Bidayuh areas for the awareness programmes. Each area will be allocated an estimate of RM60,000.”

He clarified that Pipa’s initiatives to conduct campaigns in Bidayuh areas was not an insinuation that the community have a drinking problem.

Starting off at Bidayuh areas, he said MySihat hoped to introduce a healthier lifestyle to all Malaysians and to make Sarawak a state model for alcohol abuse intervention.

Regarding the baseline study for alcohol abuse in Sarawak, Dr Yahya said that the database would be tabulated almost immediately after yesterday’s workshop.

“The database will be comparable to other countries’,” assured Dr Yahya adding that tabulation of the database at the earliest could be completed within three months.

“With the help of academicians and specialists from local universities to aid in the study, three months would be sufficient,” said Dr Yahya.