GOPENG, MALAYSIA (BERNAMA) Malaysia's Health Ministry will hold discussions with food and beverage (F&B) operators in the near future before making any decision on the latter's proposed provision of special smoking rooms, following a ban on smoking at all food premises from Jan 1, 2019.
Having said that, Deputy Health Minister Lee Boon Chye stressed that the ministry did not encourage the allocation of special smoking spaces because priority should be given to the health of the people, especially in public places.
"We will hold discussions with the operators (of food premises) so that they understand the ministry's intention (to enforce a smoking ban) to maintain health," Dr Lee said.
"We need to give importance to the rights of non-smokers so they are free from cigarette smoke because we all know smoking is harmful to health," he told reporters after launching the Perdana Dengue Prevention gotong royong at Padang Medan Pengkalan Mutiara here on Sunday (Oct 14).
There was a proposal from several operators of F&B outlets who wanted to provide a special smoking area for customers who want to smoke, without bothering other patrons.
The Health Ministry had earlier issued a directive to ban smoking at all restaurants, food outlets, and hawker stalls in the country, including taking action against smokers and eatery owners who do not adhere to the directive effective Jan 1 next year.
The proposal has been approved by the government.