Health DG: MOH tackling pandemic and smoking ban

KUALA LUMPUR: Despite managing the heavy Covid-19 pandemic workload, the Health Ministry says it will do its best to reel in those breaking the smoking ban at eateries and restaurants.

Its director-general Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah (pic) said enforcement was being conducted regularly and concurrently by the ministry along with the enforcement activities for Covid-19 standard operating procedure (SOP).

To strengthen the enforcement activities, the ministry was in the process of increasing the number of enforcement officers by collaborating with other agencies and local authorities.

“There are also two external agencies in which power has been delegated to them to carry out the enforcement activities on the smoking ban since 2018 – the auxiliary police in Sunway and UiTM,” he said.

He said last year, over 12,000 compounds were issued to errant smokers and over 1,000 to premises owners.

“Last year, about 67,203 premises were inspected during enforcement activities. Until the end of 2020, there were 5,748 enforcement officers under the Health Ministry who conducted enforcement activities on the smoking ban, together with other activities under public health prevention such as the SOP for Covid-19,” he said in a statement to The Star yesterday.

The number of compounds issued to individuals who smoked in prohibited areas last year came down to 12,285 last year, compared with 27,821 in 2020 and 39,419 in 2019.

The compounds were all issued under Regulation 11(1) of the Control of Tobacco Product Regulation (CTPR) 2004, whereby any person who smokes at any prohibited area under Regulation 11(1) commits an offence and shall be liable to a fine not exceeding RM10,000 or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years.

Under Regulation 12(1)(a), which deals with owners of premises, 756 compounds were issued in 2021 as compared to 15 in 2020 and 542 in 2019.

Under this regulation, if a building owner failsif ni to display a “No Smoking” sign as specified under Regulation 12(1)(a), they are deemed to have committed an offence and shall be liable to a fine not exceeding RM3,000 or be imprisoned for a term not exceeding six months.

Apart from that, if they fail to ensure that no person smokes in their premises, they have committed an offence under Regulation 12(1)(b) and shall be liable to a fine not exceeding RM5,000 or face imprisonment for a term not exceeding one year.

Under Regulation 12(1)(b), there were 248 compounds issued in 2021 as compared to 12 in 2020 and 31 in 2019.

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