30 May 2017:
From tomorrow, it will be illegal to light up at public parks in Selangor gazetted as no-smoking zones. This excludes open carpark areas.
Under The Control of Tobacco Product (Amendment) Regulations 2017, those caught flouting the law will face a maximum fine of RM10,000 or up to two years’ imprisonment. This includes smoking e-cigarettes.
The regulation defines a public park as “an open area for the purposes of leisure and recreational containing soft or hard landscapes, or both, such as pedestrian paths, playing fields, game courts and playgrounds”.
The regulations came into operation on Feb 1. Since Feb 15, educational and awareness activities were carried out at all public parks in the state.
A total of 18 no-smoking signs and 82 bunting and banners were put up while 39,819 pamphlets were distributed to inform the public about the gazetting of public parks as no-smoking zones.
Enforcement will begin from June 1 but it will be carried out in stages, Selangor Health director Datuk Dr Zailan Adnan said in an interview.
“To gazette a park as a non-smoking area is a separate process, we need to know how big the park is and where the boundaries are.
“We also need to start soft enforcement, to educate and inform the public.
“If we just gazette a park without having the suitable means to enforce the regulation, we will be mocking the process,” she said.
Dr Zailan added that these efforts were in line with Malaysia’s aim to be a smoke-free nation by 2045.
Public parks are among the 24 no-smoking zones. Others include government premises, hospitals, shopping complexes, petrol stations as well as places with air-conditioning.
“It is our aim to make all parks smoke-free.
“In Penang (where Dr Zailan was previously the health director), all heritage sites are no-smoking zones,” she said, adding that the state health department would need the help of other agencies to monitor and enforce the regulations.
“The local councils will have to identify the public parks and put up no-smoking signs.
“We also need other uniformed officers, such as the police, to help us monitor the areas,” she said.
Shah Alam City Council Corporate Communications head Shahrin Ahmad said the council would contribute in terms of logistics.
So far this year, 3,344 notices have been issued in Shah Alam with regards to the Control of Tobacco Product (Amendment) Regulations.
On May 20 alone, 521 notices were issued during the council’s Ops Kompleks, to those who were found guilty of flouting the regulations, which includes selling cigarettes to minors.
Thirteen parks in Petaling Jaya have been classified as no-smoking zones – Taman Jaya, Taman Bandaran Kelana Jaya, Taman Aman, Taman PJS 10, Taman Rimba Riang, Taman Tasik Komuniti Kelana Jaya, Urban Park 1, 2, 3 and 4 in Damansara Damai, Centre Spine in Bandar Sri Damansara, Taman Tasik Ara Damansara and Bukit Gasing.
In Kuala Lumpur, smoking has been banned at public parks since January.
Smoking is also no longer allowed at 141 pedestrian walkways, elevated walkways and covered bridges spanning over 20km in the city.
Twenty-three zones in Kuala Lumpur were designated no-smoking areas including links connecting private buildings, shopping malls and government agencies.