BUTTERWORTH: The Government will not make any U-turn over its decision to enforce a smoking ban at all eateries nationwide.
Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad said the Government would proceed with the enforcement to ensure that Malaysians live in a healthier and safer environment.
"We will go ahead with the implementation of enforcement in January next year (2020)," he said during a press conference after the launch of Bagan parliamentary "Kampungku Sihat" (My Healthy Village) and national level "Gotong Royong Mega 2.0 Fight Aedes" programmes here Sunday (Sept 15).
He said the ministry was working closely with related agencies and was in the process of obtaining public opinion on the type of enforcement that would be effective.
Last month, Dzulkefy said the Government was considering issuing community work orders (CWO) such as cleaning toilets, collecting rubbish and cutting grass for those who violate the smoking ban.
In October 2018, the ministry announced a smoking ban in all restaurants, coffee shops, hawker centres and open-air eateries nationwide starting from January 2019.
Those caught smoking in prohibited areas will be fined up to RM10,000 or face two years' jail while eateries found to have allowed customers to light up will be slapped with a maximum fine of RM2,500.
Smokers are, however, permitted to light up 3m away from the establishments.
Health Ministry had previously extended the educational enforcement period that was put in place from Jan 1, 2019.
This means there will be no fines imposed for flouting the smoking bans at eateries until Jan 1, 2020.