Dr Sim: Nothing new about allocating smoking zones near eateries in Sarawak

Posted on 19 Feb 2024
Source of News: The Borneo Post

KUCHING (Feb 19): The suggestion by the Ministry of Health (MoH) of providing designated smoking areas, especially near eateries, is not a new thing in Sarawak, says Deputy Premier Datuk Amar Dr Sim Kui Hian.

According to him, such provision had been enforced together by the state and federal governments before the Covid-19 pandemic hit the country.

However, he said when the pandemic struck, people ‘seemed to forget that it had been enforced before’.

“This is not a new thing, but it has been re-enforced,” said the Minister for Public Health, Housing and Local Government Sarawak when asked to about MoH out to consider measures to provide designated smoking areas, especially for eateries in tight spaces.

Dr Sim said this during a press conference held after officiating at the opening ceremony for ‘2024 Gynaecology Pathology and Cytopathology Practice Conference’ here today.

At an event in Kuala Lumpur today, Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad said the suggestion to provide designated smoking areas, particularly for eateries in tight spaces, had yet to be finalised.

He said the MoH would remain open to receiving views and suggestions from the public, including input gathered through the recent engagement session with premises owners and traders.

“It was just our viewpoint following the engagement session with over 30 premises owners and traders. If there is a request (for designated smoking areas), we will consider and assess its practicality and feasibility.

“Meaning, we listen and not too rigid,” he told reporters after officiating the 28th Session Codex Committee on Fats and Oils meeting in Kuala Lumpur.

Dr Dzulkefly added: “However, if we want to enforce the three-metre distance rule, we need to provide adequate space. For instance, at Jalan Alor, Bukit Bintang, I saw that it’s almost impossible to enforce this rule.

“So, we are willing to consider the proposed smoking areas, not only at Jalan Alor, but in any space-constraint situation, but with stringent conditions.”

The media previously reported that the MoH would consider providing designated smoking areas for dining premises in tight spaces, as done in developed countries like Singapore, Japan and Hong Kong.

Copyright © 2022 Ministry of Public Health, Housing and Local Government Sarawak
Last Updated On 08 Apr 2024

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