Stamping out unhealthy habits at parks


By CY LEE

Amirudin (centre), Ng (right) and Haris at the launch of the statewide campaign to stop smoking and drinking alcohol at public parks.

SHAH Alam City Council (MBSA) is throwing its weight behind a ban on all forms of smoking and drinking alcohol in public parks, in line with the state’s aim to stamp out the habit among visitors.

Shah Alam mayor Datuk Haris Kasim welcomed the move initiated by the state government. He noted it followed the smoking ban in restaurants which was implemented in 2019. Enforcement of the new rule under the Selangor Local Councils Park By-law 2005, which came into effect last month, will begin once a two- to three-month grace period has ended.

Those caught smoking or drinking in public parks and playgrounds can be fined up to RM1,000.

During the launch of the state’s campaign at Taman Tasik Shah Alam, Haris said MBSA enforcement officers would take an educational approach with violators during the grace period.

“Up until now, MBSA did not have legislation that would allow us to stop these activities from taking place in a healthy environment.

“This should not be happening in recreational spaces and I believe that this campaign will be able to raise awareness among smokers and drinkers to stay away, ” he said.

Educational tools such as pamphlets, signage, QR codes and social media will be used to raise awareness of the ban.

Haris added that public parks should have clean and healthy air, and smoking would cancel out those benefits.

“We have received complaints from visitors about people smoking and drinking in public parks and playgrounds around Shah Alam, ” he said, adding that many of the complaints were also about littering and causing disturbance.

Prior to the recent amendment to the by-law, only state Health Department officers could take action against smokers in parks under the Control of Tobacco Product (Amendment) Regulations 2017, which carries a maximum fine of RM10,000 or up to two years in jail.

Selangor is the first and only state in the country to prohibit drinking and smoking in park areas.

Selangor Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Amirudin Shari launched the event with Selangor local government, public transport and new village development committee chairman Ng Sze Han.

Amirudin said the ban would be implemented in the same way as the nationwide prohibition on smoking in restaurants last year and local councils would be able to issue compounds once all details relating to enforcement were in order by the end of the grace period.

“We are also open to looking at ways we can work with schools in the state to educate them on the ban.

“The state government is serious about this ban as smoking and drinking are harmful, ” he added.

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