Sunday, September 19

Sarawak to fully enforce smoking, vaping ban from Jan 1 — Penguang


File photo shows a ‘No Smoking’ sign at a stall in Sibu Central Market.

KUCHING: The smoking and vaping ban in all food premises, effective Jan 1, 2020 will be fully enforced by the state Health Department, said Assistant Minister of Local Government and Housing Datu Dr Penguang Manggil.

According to him, the State Cabinet has long decided to adhere to the federal law, which will come into effect from next year.

“The State Cabinet during its meeting in March 2019 has decided that the smoking ban will be enforced effective January 1, 2020 as required by the Ministry of Health (MoH).

“The said ban will be enforced by the Health Department Sarawak,” he said in a statement to The Borneo Post yesterday when prompted for the ministry’s roles and functions on the full enforcement of the smoking and vaping ban in all food premises starting next year.

Penguang said the local authorities in Sarawak “will
assist in whatever ways possible especially in educating the public on the need to prohibit smoking in eateries and designated public places and the danger it poses”.

He also urged all operators of food premises across the state as well as the general public to cooperate with the relevant authorities on the full enforcement of the ban.

Earlier this week, Deputy Health Minister Dr Lee Boon Chye said Sarawak is not exempted from the full enforcement of the smoking and vaping ban in all food premises from Jan 1, 2020.

He said it is mandatory for Sarawak to implement the full enforcement starting next year, adding that the state has no autonomy to decide not to implement the policy.

On Dec 20, MoH announced that smoking and vaping would be strictly prohibited in all food premises across Malaysia, effective Jan 1, 2020.

Dr Lee said offenders would be slapped with a fine of RM250, but the fine would be reduced to RM150 if settled in less than a month. He added that offenders who refused to pay up may face a fine of up to RM10,000.

The smoking ban was enforced on Jan 1 this year in Peninsular Malaysia while it was enforced in Sabah and Sarawak from Feb 1 and March 1, respectively.

The MoH later announced a six-month education enforcement for the general public to follow the rule before summonses are issued from July 1.

Despite so, the MoH, in April this year, announced that the grace period was extended for another six months
until end of this year. Under the law, smokers can only puff 10 feet or three metres away from any food premises.

Those caught smoking in prohibited areas can be fined up to RM10,000 or jailed for two years. The smoking ban is Malaysia’s commitment as a member state to the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control.