No smoking in Sabah eateries Feb 1
Published on: Thursday, January 10, 2019
By: Larry Ralon

KOTA KINABALU: The State Cabinet decided, Wednesday, to impose the smoking ban on eateries under the Control of Tobacco Product (Amendment) Regulations 2018, effective Feb 1.

State Health and People’s Wellbeing Minister, Datuk Stephen Wong Tien Fatt, said enforcement would only begin next month to give time to all the agencies involved and owners of eatery premises to make preparations. 

“Our Ministry, together with City Hall and Local Government and Housing Ministry will start with implementing educational enforcement up to June 30. The regulation will be fully enforced from July 1,” he told a press conference at his Ministry in Wisma Tun Fuad Stephens. 

Hoping all eatery premise operators and patrons would give their full cooperation to the implementation of this regulation for the health’s sake of the people of Sabah. Anyone caught breaching the said regulation can be fined RM10,000 or jailed to a period of not more than two years. Any eatery premise owner caught breaching the regulation can be fined not exceeding RM3,000 or jailed for a period not exceeding six months. 

“The State Government is concerned over the health of the people in Sabah and thus fully support the Federal Government effort to ensure good health will always be preserved.

“Based on this, in principle, the State Government supports the implementation of the smoking ban policy on all air-conditioned and open air eatery premises, as this will reduce the impact of cigarette smoke on the public especially those patronising the premises,” he said. 

Prior to this, the State Government implemented Rule 11, Control of Tobacco Products Regulation 2004 which banned smoking at 23 areas including air-conditioned restaurants.

“Since 2014, the State Health Department has implemented the Blue Ribbon certification which is an effort to encourage and promote operators of premises which are not subjected to this regulation, like the non air-conditioned restaurants to voluntarily declare their premises as cigarette smoke-free area,” he said. 

He said in 2014, four such restaurants in Lahad Datu had obtained the certification, while another 18 premises throughout Sabah received it in 2015, including six non air-conditioned restaurants, four hotels, a public park, a factory, four bakeries, a resort and a conservation centre. 

In 2016, two hotels, a research centre, a shop and a warehouse received the certification, he said, adding four hotels received it in 2017 and last year, 24 premises. 

“This proved the State Government commitment in ensuring a cigarette smoke-free environment not only for the people of Sabah but also those visiting the State from other countries,” he said. 

When asked, Wong said he did not expect the implementation of this regulation would pose any problem for tourists who visit the State. 

To another question, he said the smoking ban cover all premises that serve any food and those premises that serve only drinks are excluded from it. “But we will have to check on the operating license of the premises on this,” he said. 

Meanwhile, State Health Department Director Datuk Dr Christina Rundi, who was also present, said the department0s 747 health enforcement officers throughout Sabah are ready to execute the regulation. 


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