“It is also one of the ministry’s initiatives to protect the public from the dangers of cigarette smoke,” Deputy Health Minister Dr Lee Boon Chye was quoted saying in the Dewan Negara yesterday.
He added that those found to flout the law can be fined RM10,000 or jailed up to two years.
Malaysia will enforce a smoking ban on restaurants, coffee shops and hawker stalls nationwide from Jan 1, Sin Chew Daily cited Deputy Health Minister Lee Boon Chye as saying on Thursday (Oct 11).
The ban will cover all air-conditioned and non-air-conditioned restaurants, coffee shops, open-air hawker centres and street stalls.
Dr Lee announced the mandatory ban while chairing a health forum at the Asian Institute of Medical, Science and Technology in Kedah.
Those caught smoking at prohibited areas will be fined RM10,000 (S$3,300) and eateries found not enforcing the ban will be fined RM2,500.
The Star newspaper reported in September that the health ministry was pushing to gazette all open-air restaurants as no-smoking areas, according to Dr Lee.
The gazettement was not only to encourage smokers to kick the habit, but also to protect non-smokers from second-hand smoke due to tobacco products.
“No doubt smokers will say they have the right to smoke, but non-smokers also have the right to have smoke-free areas,” Dr Lee had said.
The Gopeng MP is also seeking his fellow MPs’ support to shut down the smoking room in Parliament by October.
He hopes the MPs who smoke will take the opportunity to quit smoking.
“This gazettement is Malaysia’s commitment as a member state to the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control and adheres to the guidelines under Article 8 of the World Health Organisation,” he added.
The current Control of Tobacco Product (Amendment) Regulations 2017 prohibits smoking in 21 areas including hospitals, public toilets, lifts, government premises as well as air-conditioned shops and offices. Others include parks and government premises.
Dr Lee was also reported proposing the closure of Parliament’s smoking room next month, in a bid to turn the entire law-making House a smoke-free zone.
He said there are currently 23 areas designated smoke-free under the Control of Tobacco Product (Amendment) Regulations 2017.