IPOH: The Malaysia Singapore Coffee Shop Proprietors’ General Association is against the Health Ministry’s proposed ban on smoking at all eateries, including open air areas without air conditioning.
Its president Ho Su Mong said the proposal would have a huge impact on the association’s 20,000 members and thousands of other restaurant operators, whom he claimed are still grappling with the effects of the Goods and Services Tax.
Ho argued that restaurants could expect their business to drop by at least 30% if the rule was implemented.
“Surely, smokers will no longer want to patronise our eateries if they cannot smoke.
“Our revenue, which relies heavily on the sale of cigarettes, will also be affected.
“Why would people just come to buy cigarettes when they are not eating at our premises?” Ho asked during a press conference here yesterday, where he urged the ministry to defer the proposal.
Adding that the matter had not been thought out carefully, Ho said the ministry had only one discussion with the association on April 27.
“The discussion only lasted for an hour, which is insufficient to carefully study the impact of the proposal.
“In addition, it is too short a period given for the online survey by the ministry, which ends on May 18. It does not give our members enough time to respond,” he added.
Ho said the association was open to further discussions with the ministry, and maintained that restaurant operators should be given the choice in deciding whether their patrons were allowed to smoke.