KUALA LUMPUR: It was another cloudy afternoon when office workers hung out at the popular KLCC park, puffing away at the end of lunch hour, oblivious to the smoking ban there.
Many were seen sitting on a bench and at the steps near the water fountain, smoking.
This despite the latest regulation from the Health Ministry, which came into effect Wednesday – no smoking at public parks and playgrounds, among others.
A check by The Star found many Malaysians and foreigners openly smoking at several other public parks as well as R&R stops.
Manager for an oil and gas company, Mohd Affendi Afnan, said he was unaware of the ruling and did not see smoking near a park as a problem.
Furthermore, he said there were several bins with ashtrays all over the park.
“I’m just having a quick smoke before I go back to work,” said the 36-year-old.
The Control of Tobacco Product (Amendment) Regulations 2017, which were announced by minister Datuk Seri Dr S. Subramaniam under the Food Act on Jan 16, were gazetted on Jan 24.
Another smoker at the park, Lim S.K. said he heard of the ruling.
“I just finished my lunch and I saw other people smoking,” said the 25-year-old.
“I thought there is no problem.”
He urged the authorities to put clear signages at gazetted areas so that smokers would be aware of the new ruling.
“How can we identify areas where smoking is allowed?
“They should create more awareness on the issue and not simply force it down our throat,” he added.
A tourist from the Middle East, who wanted to be known as Abdul Rashid, 26, said he had never heard of such rules.
“I am sorry if this is against the law because I am not aware of it,” he said.
A similar scene was found at the R&R Sungai Buloh where many motorists were smoking near the corridors.
A businessman, known as Alif, 33, who was with his family, said it was the first time he heard of such a ruling.
“How are authorities going to implement the ruling? I think it will be an uphill task,” he said.