ALOR SETAR • Malaysia will enforce a smoking ban at restaurants, coffee shops and hawker stalls nationwide from Jan 1, Sin Chew Daily newspaper cited Deputy Health Minister Lee Boon Chye as saying yesterday.
The ban will cover all air-conditioned and non-air-conditioned restaurants, coffee shops, as well as open-air hawker centres and street stalls.
Dr Lee announced the mandatory ban while chairing a health forum at the Asian Institute of Medical, Science and Technology in Kedah.
Those caught smoking at prohibited areas will be fined RM10,000 (S$3,321) and eateries found not enforcing the ban will be fined RM2,500.
The Star newspaper reported last month that the Health Ministry was pushing to gazette all open-air restaurants as no-smoking areas.
The move was to not only encourage smokers to kick the habit, but also to protect non-smokers from second-hand tobacco smoke.
"No doubt smokers will say they have the right to smoke, but nonsmokers also have the right to have smoke-free areas," Dr Lee had said.
The Gopeng MP is also seeking his fellow MPs' support to shut down the smoking room in Parliament by October. He hopes the MPs who smoke will take the opportunity to quit smoking.
"This move is Malaysia's commitment as a member state to the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control and adheres to the guidelines under Article 8 of the World Health Organisation," he added.
Malaysia's current Control of Tobacco Product (Amendment) Regulations 2017 prohibits smoking in 21 areas including hospitals, public toilets, lifts, government premises, as well as air-conditioned shops and offices.