Smoking ban at eateries delayed due to lack of awareness in rural areas

  • Nation
  • Saturday, 01 Jun 2019

GOPENG: The decision to extend the educational enforcement period before the smoking ban at eateries is due to the lack of awareness in less developed areas, says Deputy Health Minister Dr Lee Boon Chye.

He said the decision was made, despite having nearly 80% of premises following the ministry's directives.

“We can see that in several places, especially in village and rural areas, the awareness is still lacking.

"By extending the enforcement period to December, it will give us ample of time to educate them,” he told a press conference here on Saturday (June 1)

On April 21, the Health Ministry announced the extension until the end of the year.

There would be no fine slapped on those found smoking near eateries until January next year.

Dr Lee said the Federal Government and his ministry were stepping up efforts to educate more smokers to respect the ban.

“In certain areas, smokers were seen leaving restaurant compound to smoke before entering the premises again.

"Clearly, the campaign is working, but we needed more time for several places,” he added.

On a separate matter, Dr Lee said investigations were being conducted after an incident in which primary school students were caught smoking e-cigarettes within their school compound in Seberang Perai, Penang on May 17.

“The government is aware of the situation, and we are monitoring several websites that sells e-cigarettes.

“We are working with the Education Ministry to tackle the issue, including taking action towards traders who sell these items to schoolchildren," he said.

“Since e-cigarettes contain nicotine, it is prohibited in school.

"If such devices are found in the premises, the headmaster or principal can confiscate them,” he added.

Dr Lee also announced an allocation of RM380,000 to fix streetlights, signboards and repaint road lines from the Gopeng Rural Transformation Centre to Kampar.

“We have received complaints about the condition of the roads between RTC Gopeng and the Kampar tollbooth in the last 10 years.

"And now, we have finally received the approval that will benefit road users," he said, adding that the allocation was from him and Kampar MP Thomas Su.

"Work will start in July after we appoint a contractor for the project,” he added.
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