Health ministry: Smoking ban not enforced yet

GOMBAK: The ban on smoking at all eateries nationwide, including at open-air spaces without air-conditioning, is just a suggestion and will not be implemented yet, the Health Ministry said today.

In a posting on the ministry’s website, Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr S. Subramaniam said the move is "just a suggestion to get the views of the rakyat to see whether they think smoking should be banned in all restaurants".

He added that although a decision has not been made yet on the ban, the ministry intends to increase smoke-free areas in the country.

Subramaniam also urged the public to visit the ministry’s website and provide feedback on the matter.

However, he said the ministry has banned smoking in air-conditioned restaurants, rest-stops and some shopping complexes.

“We are doing this to protect people who do not smoke, but are in contact with smokers,” he said at the launch of the "Healthy Communities" programme here today.

Also present was Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Tan Sri Joseph Kurup.

Coffeeshop associations, restaurant owners and similar parties were reportedly up in arms over news on the ministry’s website that stated its intent to ban smoking in all eateries.

They urged the ministry to allow business owners to choose whether or not to allow smoking in their establishments.