PETALING JAYA: Smoking at open-air mamak and hawker stalls may be illegal from December. The Health Ministry is trying to make these eateries no-smoking zones.
The ministry is pushing to gazette all open-air restaurants as no-smoking areas, said Deputy Health Minister Dr Lee Boon Chye.
The gazettement is 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,” he said.
Dr Lee announced the ministry’s intention to gazette al fresco restaurants as no-smoke zones under the Control of Tobacco Product (Amendment) Regulations 2017 at the Dewan Negara on Wednesday.
The Gopeng MP is also seeking his fellow MPs’ support to shut down the smoking room in Parliament by October.
He hopes the smoker MPs 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 (WHO),” he added.
Dr Lee said the ministry has received positive feedback over the proposal.
“During our engagement with industrial peers, coffee shop and restaurant owners had some reservations but the general public are open towards the plan,” he said.
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.
Those caught smoking at prohibited areas can be fined RM10,000 or jailed for not more than two years.