160 caught smoking at eateries on first day of enforcement

A health official issuing a compound fine notice to a smoker at a restaurant in Meru Raya, Ipoh, today. The RM250 fine can be reduced to RM150 if payment is made within a month. (Bernama pic)

KUALA LUMPUR: More than 160 smokers and restaurant owners were issued compound fine notices for smoking offences on the first day of the full enforcement of the law throughout the country today.

Under the law, smoking is only allowed more than three metres from restaurants and offenders are liable to a RM250 fine. Restaurant owners are also liable to fines if they allow smoking on their premises.

Checks by the authorities throughout the country today showed many people were refusing to abide by the smoking ban at eateries.

Some still pleaded ignorance of the ban despite the “educational enforcement” which had been done over the past 12 months.

In the capital, four compound notices were issued during the enforcement operations at three locations today.

Titiwangsa senior environmental health officer Nordayana Musa, who led the operation in the city, said some smokers begged to be issued a warning instead of a compound fine notice on grounds that they were not aware of the enforcement of the smoking ban.

In PAHANG, 51 individuals became the first group to be issued notices for not abiding by the law.

State health director Dr Sha’ari Ngadiman said compound notices were also issued to four food outlets for allowing their customers to smoke and failing to display a no-smoking sign.

“So far, 656 eateries have been inspected. We will continue this operation until midnight, targeting mainly the food courts and 24-hour restaurants,” he said.

In NEGERI SEMBILAN, a simultaneous operation carried out by 95 enforcement officers from seven district health offices across the state resulted in 42 notices being issued through inspections of 379 eateries.

Negeri Sembilan health director Dr Zainudin Mohd Ali said seven of these notices were issued to owners for not displaying no-smoking signs, while eight others were for failure to ensure that no one smoked on their premises.

In PERAK, five food premises in Jelapang, Ipoh, were inspected in a two-hour operation beginning at 10am, involving 16 officers from Kinta district health office.

However, no compound notices were issued.

In KELANTAN, Bernama checks on food premises, especially in the villages, found many individuals completely ignored the enforcement of the smoking ban.

In SELANGOR, 64 compound notices were issued by the Selangor Health Department as at 3pm.

Its director, Dr Khalid Ibrahim, said 51 individuals were given compound notices for smoking in eateries. Five eatery owners were issued compound notices for not displaying no-smoking signs at their premises.

The operation, which started at 10am is expected to end at midnight.