Wednesday, April 8

Smoking ban: 174 compounds in first six days of enforcement

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A health officer inspecting an eatery in this file photo. 

KUCHING: The Ministry of Health (MoE) have issued 174 compounds, with total value amounting to RM42,300, during the first six days of the smoking ban enforcement, which took effect on Jan 1.

According to retiring Sarawak Health Department director Dr Jamilah Hashim, 3,867 premises have also been inspected throughout the period.

“From the 174 compounds, 137 were issued under Regulation 11 (1) (d) of Control of Tobacco Products (Amendment) Regulation 2018, for smoking at eateries.

“Twenty-six compounds were issued under Regulation 12 (1)(a), to owners of premises for failing to display the ‘No Smoking’ sign; and five issued under Regulation 12 (1)(b) for providing the amenities (for smoking),” she said in a statement yesterday.

Dr Jamilah also said six compounds were issued under Regulation 13 (1), imposed on underage individuals who were caught smoking.

“Of the six, four of them are students and they have been referred to their respective schools; the remaining two are school-leavers. Each has been slapped with a RM50 compound. There will be no reduction,” she added.

Individuals or eatery owners who received the compounds must pay them at the nearest district or divisional health offices within two months from the issuing date.

First-time offenders must pay a fine of RM250, but this would be reduced to RM150 if it were to be settled in less than a month from the issuing date.

There would be no reduction given to second-time offenders.

The compound will be set higher, at RM350, for anyone committing the offence for the third time and thereon.

Legal action would be taken against those failing to pay the compounds within the given timeframe – upon conviction, the offender could be fined RM10,000, or sentenced to jail for no more than two years – under Regulation 11(1)(d).

For offences under Regulation 12(1)(b), the offender could be imposed with a penalty of RM5,000, or sentenced to imprisonment for not more than one year, if found guilty.

“The Sarawak Health Department would like to call upon everyone, especially the smokers, to give their fullest cooperation in complying with this ban, towards ensuring that the health of the non-smokers is protected. To those still wanting to smoke at eateries, please do so at a distance of more than 3m away from the premises, or from the last table there.

“Failure to cooperate with the enforcement officers, such as not providing personal details, is an offence under Section 4 (4) of Food Act 1983 for obstructing the duties of a civil servant.

“If found guilty, the offender could be fined, or jailed for no more than a year, or both,” said Dr Jamilah.

The department is also providing a service to help smokers quit their habit.

The ‘mQuit’ programme is available at all government clinics and hospitals across Sarawak, as well as private medical facilities that are ‘mQuit-accreditated’.