KUALA LUMPUR: The Health Ministry will not retract its decision to ban smoking inside the Parliament building, says Datuk Seri Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad.
However, the Health Minister said Dewan Rakyat Speaker Datuk Mohamad Ariff Md Yusof had agreed that a temporary space outside the building would be provided for smokers.
"The enforcement of the ruling is to show the importance of protecting the health of the people and it should start from the Parliamentary institution," he said in a statement on Thursday (Oct 18).
On Oct 15, the Parliament was declared a no-smoking zone as part of the government's campaign to reduce the habit among Malaysians.
A lawmaker was among eight people issued compound notices after the ban took effect in the building.
In an unexpected twist Thursday, a non-smoking MP had spoken out against the notice, saying that the Speaker has the control of Parliament, not ministers.
Dr Dzulkefly said a high-ranking delegation from the Ministry had met with the Speaker on the enforcement of the ban.
"Following the meeting, the Ministry expressed our intention that the ban of the smoking room inside the Parliament building is in line with Article 8 of the World Health Organisation's Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC), which is to protect non-smokers from the risk of secondary smoke in line with anti-tobacco regulations.
"We also want to achieve zero smoking in Parliament, the cafeteria and within the premises," he said.