KUALA LUMPUR: Errant smokers who are issued a RM250 summons from July 1 for flouting no-smoking rule in eateries risk paying up to RM10,000 if they are hauled up to court, says Deputy Health Minister Dr Lee Boon Chye.
"We will be imposing a maximum RM250 fine to smokers that are issued summonses this July 1.
However, he said that offenders who fail to settle the summons would be hauled to court.
"The courts can impose a maximum sentence of RM10,000 or two years' jail," he said when replying a supplementary question during Question and Answer time in Dewan Rakyat on Monday (March 18).
Datuk Dr Shamsul Anuar Nasarah (BN-Lenggong) wanted to know if smokers caught flouting the law would be punished with the maximum fine or jail sentence.
Dr Lee added the ministry would consider expanding the smoking ban to cover other areas.
"There are some countries which have banned smoking in cities altogether, only allowing it in specific areas," he said.
Dr Lee assured lawmakers that the government was committed towards implementing the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC), which Malaysia ratified in 2005.
However, he said that implementation of its protocols would be done in stages, included one on plain packaging for cigarettes.
"Plain cigarette packaging was proposed by the Health Ministry under the previous administration.
"The proposal was withdrawn following resistance and objections," he said.
Datuk Dr Noor Azmi Ghazali (PH-Bagan Serai) had asked if Malaysia would adopt plain cigarette packaging.
Dr Noor said that 10 nations had since adopted this, including neighbouring Thailand and Singapore.