PUTRAJAYA (Bernama): Social work punishments such as cleaning toilets, collecting rubbish and cutting grass are being considered for those who violate the smoking ban once it comes into force, says Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad.
"The punishment will make people think twice, especially those who can afford the fine. So I am looking at social work punishments closely and judiciously, ” he said when asked on the effectiveness of social work punishments.
Speaking at the Health Ministry's monthly assembly on Tuesday (Aug 27), Dr Dzulkefly reminded employees of the ministry to show a good example by respecting the smoking ban in the ministry's premises and in public places.
In jest, he said the percentage of ministry staff who are still smokers is a ministry secret, and he added that he has to accept the fact that there are employees who could not kick the smoking habit.
Effective January 1 2019, a smoking ban has come into force at all restaurants and stalls regardless of whether the premises are enclosed or open-air.
Smokers nabbed at such prohibited areas would face a maximum fine of RM10,000 or a jail term not exceeding two years.
A period of education prior to enforcement was originally set for six months, but it has since been extended to the end of the year.
According to Dr Dzulkefly, 129,180 premises were inspected to date with more than 30,698 smoking warning notices issued.
Meanwhile, Dr Dzulkefly said that the ministry would monitor the preparation of free breakfasts for school pupils as announced by Education Minister Dr Maszlee Malik yesterday to look after the safety of food provided.
"The ministry will also monitor the nutrition of the food provided, ” he said when commenting on the announcement by Maszlee that the government would be providing free breakfasts for all primary school students nationwide from January next year (2020).
According to Maszlee, the initiative was introduced to ensure students are healthy and energetic while attending classes. - Bernama
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