Malaysia: Sabah to start penalising smokers at eateries next year

2 August 2019
Olivia Miwil 

KOTA KINABALU: The Sabah government has extended the grace period for a state-wide smoking ban at all eateries to Dec 31.

State Health and People’s Wellbeing Minister Datuk Frankie Poon said the state Cabinet agreed on July 24 to continue educating smokers on the upcoming ban.

The educational period on the smoking ban in Sabah began on Feb 1 this year. The state government had planned to start penalising those who smoke in prohibited areas six months after that date.

The new policy states that smokers who contravene the ban could be fined up to RM10,000 or imprisoned for up to two years.

“During this extension period, the ministry will discuss with local authorities on smoking areas (beyond just) eateries,” he said in a statement.

Poon said that throughout the past six months, owners of eateries and the public were provided with information about the smoking ban at places where food is served.

“Sabahans agree with the ban, as their response to it has been positive. They feel that it will allow people to enjoy clean air and a more comfortable environment.

“So far, the state Health Department has inspected 5,704 premises, including 5,206 premises that had put up no-smoking signs.

“Besides that, 262 talks and 1,444 educational enforcements with 498 warnings were issued to premises without these no-smoking signs. Another 14 notices were issued to smokers,” he said.

Poon said that the Sabah Health Department will ensure that all premises will display no-smoking signs by the year’s end.

As for smokers who want to quit the habit, the state has 23 hospitals, 58 district clinics and 12 private hospitals offering services for them, he added.

More information can be obtained via the Health Ministry’s infoline 03-88924530 or www.jomquit.moh.gov.my.

The New Straits Times