Over RM3.7 mil in fines for smoking at eateries from Jan-April: MoH

Over RM3.7 mil in fines for smoking at eateries from Jan-April: MoH

Minister says 14,872 notices also issued, points out public complaints hotline available

KUALA LUMPUR – The Health Ministry has issued 14,872 notices amounting to RM3.7 million in fines to offenders smoking in eateries as of April this year, said Dr Zaliha Mustafa.

In a parliamentary written reply, the health minister said this was one of the ministry’s activities to enforce the cigarette ban under the Control of Tobacco Product Regulations 2004 nationwide.

Last year, 30,648 notices were issued to offenders, which totalled RM7.6 million in fines. More than 12,000 enforcement operations were conducted throughout 2022. This year, 5,028 operations have been conducted to date.

Zaliha (Sekijang-PH) was responding to a question by Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman (Muar-PH) who asked about the ministry’s enforcement against smoking in restaurants, a law first introduced by the Pakatan Harapan government in 2019.

Syed Saddiq in his question to the ministry said there had been numerous complaints on social media of patrons smoking at restaurant premises.

Zaliha said other measures taken by the ministry include collaborating with police to conduct integrated enforcement operations throughout May in Kuala Lumpur, Negri Sembilan, and Selangor, before continuing operations in other states.

She also said a Smoking Complaint Hotline is available for the public to report cases, via WhatsApp at 010-860-8949. The hotline is still active, and reports are analysed and channelled to the state Health Departments for further action, she added.

In November last year, the Court of Appeal dismissed a challenge by a group of smokers against the government’s smoking ban at eateries. The court said the law empowered the health minister to impose restrictions on smoking, such as the location and timing of the bans.

The three-member bench also upheld that the smoking ban cannot be considered a violation of Articles 5 and 8 of the federal constitution.

– The Vibes, May 24, 2023

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