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No smoking zones policy in S’wak needs study, says asst minister

 | December 16, 2016

Assistant Minister for Local Government, Penguang Manggil says many issues have to be ironed out before other councils follow example of Kuching North City Hall and enforce ‘no smoking’ zones.

Assistant Minister for Local Government, Penguang Manggil.

Assistant Minister for Local Government, Penguang Manggil.

KUCHING: Proper studies must be done before no smoking zones can be enforced in coffee shops, public toilets and open spaces, according to Assistant Minister for Local Government, Penguang Manggil.

“The implications must be studied. Otherwise, it may backfire,” he was quoted as saying in the Borneo Post.

Penguang, who is also Marudi assemblyman, was commenting on a report that Kuching North City Hall would declare coffee shops, public toilets and open spaces as “no smoking zones” from January next year.

He added that various aspects, including regulations and enforcement, must be considered by local councils and his ministry consulted before a decision on this could be made.

Also, he said, the Ministry of Health (MOH) would have to amend the general definition of “non-smoking areas” and gazette them for enforcement

He feels enforcement units and agencies must be strong to ensure rulings are followed “If there’s no enforcement, people will still smoke,” the report quoted him as saying.

He agreed that in air-conditioned restaurants, “it was wise to protect all patrons by enforcing the no smoking rule”.

It was easier to enforce this in restaurants but open spaces and public toilets were a different matter, he added.

Kuching South Mayor, James Chin, said in a separate statement that his administration had encouraged establishments to display “no smoking” notices about five years ago.

“We encourage people not to smoke in coffee shops and other eating outlets,” said Chin who is not a smoker. “We cannot totally stop people from smoking.”

He echoed Penguang’s statement on the MOH taking the lead on “no smoking” zones in public. “If there’s a national law, we will enforce it,” he said.

He cited Singapore as an example where “no smoking” zones were strictly enforced.


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