JOHOR BARU: The Johor Indian Muslim Entrepreneurs Association (Perusim) is appealing to the health department not to penalise restaurant operators who failed to stop customers from smoking at their premises.
Perusim secretary Hussein Ibrahim said the 24-hour Indian Muslim restaurants operators in Johor were in dilemma over the no-smoking ruling in eateries in Johor effective from Jan 1, next year.
He said while enough notices on the ban were put up by the operators at their outlets since January this year, this had not stopped smokers from lighting up.
“There were many instances where our employees were scolded for asking customers not to smoke in the premises, ’’ said Hussein.
He said it was unfair to penalise the operators as stopping smokers, especially the hardcore ones, was almost impossible, with requests falling on deaf ears.
“Strict enforcement is the only way to stop smokers from breaking the no-smoking ruling, ’’ added Hussein.
He said stopping the 24-hour Indian Muslim restaurants from selling cigarettes was not the answer as smokers could always bring them from elsewhere.
Hussein said the operators had no issues with smokers as they bring business but said they and their employees should not be put in a difficult situation.
He said restaurant operators faced other problems like customers evading paying their bills after eating.
“Some even say they will pay later.
“These people are not even our regular customers and usually they come in a big group after midnight. Most of them are youngsters and we are afraid to approach them, ’’ said Hussein.
Currently, Perusim has close to 300 members, with 200 operating Indian Muslim restaurants while the rest run sundry shops, trading companies and money changing businesses.
Johor health, culture and heritage committee chairman Mohd Khuzzan Abu Bakar advised smokers to obey the ruling from Jan 1,2020, after the smoking ban awareness campaign aimed to educate the public ends on Dec 31.
He said those caught smoking will face stern action.
He said owners of eateries have the role to stop customers from smoking in their premises.
“Spreading awareness of the smoking ban will continue and the most important part is effective enforcement, ’’ Mohd Khuzzan
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