Sarawak puts on hold smoking ban at eateries

KUCHING (Bernama) – The Sarawak state government is putting on hold yesterday’s nationwide smoking ban at all eateries in the state pending a decision by the state Cabinet, said Sarawak Local Government and Housing Minister Datuk Dr Sim Kui Hian.

He said although the state government was with the federal government on the anti-smoking law, it had its own local government ordinances on smoking.

In fact, the Kuching North City Hall (DBKU) had, two years ago, implemented anti-smoking law in kopitiams through but unfortunately not all the local councils in Sarawak have been doing the same, he said.

“Do not be misled by certain quarters that we are preventing federal laws from being implemented in the state,” Dr Sim told Bernama yesterday.

“I was given to understand that the Sarawak State Health Department (JKNS) under the Ministry of Health is calling to discuss with the stakeholders especially the coffee shops association on their recently gazetted Federal Anti-Smoking Law and the implementation,” he said.

Last October, the federal government announced that smoking in all restaurants, coffee shops and hawker centres nationwide would be banned effective yesterday.

Those caught smoking in prohibited areas will be fined up to RM10,000 or face two years’ jail while eateries found to have allowed customers to light up will be slapped with a maximum fine of RM2,500.