20 October 2016:
TWENTY-FOUR smokers paid a hefty price for lighting up in the George Town Unesco World Heritage Site which is a designated cigarette smoke-free zone.
They were slapped with a RM250 fine each after being caught smoking in the enclave yesterday instead of the yellow semi-circles marked with a smoking sign.
The marked spots are the only places where smoking is allowed in the enclave apart from residential premises.
State Health director Datuk Dr M. Sukumar said the offenders, who were caught during a three-hour operation by the Cigarette Smoke-Free Penang (Penbar) task force, had to settle the fine within a month or they would be charged in court.
He said 146 employees of coffee shops in the enclave were verbally warned for not telling their customers not to smoke while written warnings were issued to 20 food outlet owners for failing to display ‘No Smoking’ signs in their premises.
Sixty personnel from the state Health Department, Royal Malaysian Police, Penang Island City Council, Penang Immigration Department, Penang Port Sdn Bhd and Domestic Trade, Co-operatives and Consumerism Ministry took part in the operation.
It was earlier reported that the Penbar task force was set up by the state Health Department to stop people from smoking in the Unesco heritage site and eight enforcement teams had been formed under it.
All buildings and public spaces within the 259ha heritage site, except residential premises, have been gazetted as no-smoking zones from July 4 last year and enforcement began on Jan 1.
Smokers could be fined a maximum of RM10,000 or jailed up to two years if charged in court.
Yellow semi-circle spots marked with a smoking sign were later introduced for those craving to have a puff.
There are about 30 such spots set up away from where people congregate.