Smoking ban at eateries: Enforcement starts next year as education period ends Dec 31, says ministry

  • Nation
  • Wednesday, 30 Oct 2019

PETALING JAYA: The Health Ministry says it will fully enforce the smoking ban at all public eateries starting Jan 1, 2020, following the High Court ruling that such a ban does not breach people's right to liberty and equality.

Welcoming the court's decision to uphold the smoking ban at eateries, Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad said they have to take stringent measures to protect the health of the general public.

"The education period ends Dec 31, and enforcement starts Jan 1," he said in a statement.

Those who violated the Health Ministry's ban order risk being fined RM10,000 or jailed up to two years.

Stressing that smoking is hazardous to health, Dr Dzulkefly said even non-smokers were at risk if exposed to passive smoking.

"We are committed to protecting public health, and we want to help create a healthy environment for all," he added.

He said this in response to the High Court's decision on Tuesday (Oct 29) to uphold the Health Ministry's smoking ban at all eateries beginning this year.

The High Court had dismissed a judicial review on a smoking ban in food outlets that was enforced in January this year.

A group of seven individuals representing a pro-tem Pertahankan Hak Perokok (PHP) committee had on Feb 29 filed a judicial review, claiming such a ban breached articles in the Federal Constitution pertaining to the people's right and equality before the law.

The group challenged the Health Ministry on the grounds that smoking was not listed as criminal activity and that smoking was not a forbidden act in the eyes of the law.

Judge Mariana Yahya ruled that the ban did not breach Articles 5 and 8 of the Federal Constitution.

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

Dr Dzulkefly said the health authorities did not discriminate smokers, as all patients were accorded equal treatment at health facilities.

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