Up in smoke: Court dismisses smoking ban challenge

KUALA LUMPUR: The High Court on Tuesday (Oct 29) dismissed a judicial review by seven Malaysians on a smoking ban in food outlets that was enforced in January this year, according to a news report.

Judge Datuk Seri Mariana Yahya ruled that the application by the group did not breach Articles 5 and 8 of the Federal Constitution.

These articles concern the rights of person and equality before the law.

Mariana said the ban, which required smokers to keep a minimum of 3m from a food outlet’s tables and chairs, did not deny them their freedom of choice.

She said that smokers still smoked and could enjoy the outlet’s food and drinks without discrimination.

“The group's argument that the ban is irrational towards smokers is unsupported and does not surface.

“This court therefore dismisses this judicial review application without order for costs, ” the judge said in delivering her judgment.

The seven are Mohd Hanizam Yunus, 52, Zulkifli Mohamad, 56, Mohd Laisani Dollah, 46, Mohd Sufian Awaludin, 35, Ridzuan Muhammad Noor, 52, Mohd Yazid Mohd Yunus, 48, and Yuri Azhar Abdollah, 39..

They were represented by lawyer Haniff Khatri.

The group, called “Smokers Right Club”, claimed that the smoking ban contradicted the Federal Constitution as smoking was not a criminal activity and was not banned in the country.

They claimed that the activity was legally valid and guaranteed by the Constitution.

They also claimed that smokers had equal rights as non-smokers when visiting eateries and should be allowed to spend as much time they wanted there.

The group said Malaysians who smoked would be constructively isolated from visiting the premises due to the ban.

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