I LOST my father when he had just turned 66 years old.
A couple of years later, I lost another close relative when he, too, died of lung cancer, while my children lost their nanny’s husband and their wonderful godfather due to this deadly disease that knows no mercy.
Former Radio Four host, the late Alan Zechariah was also a heavy smoker when he was younger. He died of lung cancer. Fans of the once-popular radio channel would also remember the late Kenny Lim, who used to phone in to the talk shows – he too died of lung cancer in his early 50s.
You can understand why I am saddened each time I hear someone is suffering from lung cancer.
This is why I appeal to the public to understand what the Health Ministry was trying to achieve when it banned smoking in restaurants. This is an important milestone in Malaysia. It has taken 61 years to implement this bold ruling.
It used to be that smokers could even smoke in train coaches. On my way to Penang back in the 1980s, I remember sitting beside a chain smoker. While I was trying to catch up on some sleep, he was puffing away the whole night.
We have come a long way. I urge the current Opposition not to politicise every single move made by the new government.
I also urge the Sarawak state government to be sensible and implement without reservation the “No Smoking” ban instead of fighting it. Sarawak Housing and Local Government state exco Dr Sim Kui Hian is also a doctor, he should know how deadly lung cancer is.
After May 9 last year, there appears to be too much opposition to everything, good or bad, done by the Pakatan Harapan government – reject the Unified Examination Certificate, reject the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (Icerd), and now, reject even the no smoking in restaurants ban.
There are some good initiatives that the Opposition should support, such as the no smoking ban. The majority of nonsmokers support it; therefore, it would do harm to the Opposition’s narrative if they fought it.
And being one of those who gave the thumbs-up to both Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad and Deputy Health Minister Dr Lee Boon Chye for their stake-it-all initiative, I certainly do not want to lose any of my loved ones to cancer of the lungs.
Neither do you, I’m sure!
Wangsa Permai, Kuala Lumpur