KOTA KINABALU: Sabah health authorities are defying the state government’s order to put the smoking ban at eateries on hold.
For the past two days, vans equipped with loudspeakers blaring public reminders on the ban are making their rounds in Kota Kinabalu and Sandakan.
This is despite state Local Government and Housing Minister Datuk Jaujan Sambakong saying on Monday that the state Cabinet would discuss whether to impose the ban.
Yesterday, Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Christina Liew said it was unnecessary for Sabah to follow Peninsular Malaysia in enforcing the ban.
Liew, who is also the state Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister, said tourists also had to be considered when implementing the ban.
“If we say we are going to ban smoking (at food premises), what will happen to tourists wanting to smoke? Should we ban them too?” she was quoted in a local online portal.
Earlier, asked on the state government’s order, Sabah Health Department director Datuk Dr Christina Rundi said there were many aspects to the ban.
Emphasis “would be on educating the public and coffee shop operators, rather than on enforcement”, she said.
She said the ban was an extension to the no-smoking zones previously gazetted under the Control of Tobacco Product (Amendment) Regulations 2017.
The federal government’s ban, which went into force nationwide on Tuesday except for Sabah and Sarawak, bars customers from lighting up in eateries.
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