Earlier in October 2018, it was confirmed by the Ministry of Health that all open-air eateries would officially become non-smoking areas as of 1st January 2019.
Now, it appears that this smoking ban does not apply to the state of Sarawak, unless the Sarawak government chooses to adopt and implement this policy.
According to Utusan Borneo Online, the state’s Minister of Local Government and Housing Datuk Dr Sim Kui Hian stated that Sarawak has its own Local Government Ordinance, so new policies introduced by the federal government should be adopted by the state government before being implemented. Datuk Dr Sim explained that this was part of Sarawak’s autonomy, adding,
“Until we implement this policy, this does not apply to Sarawak. We have our own Local Government Ordinance.”
He added that while smoking is definitely not a healthy habit, coffee shops are under the control of local state governments.
Just two months ago, Deputy Health Minister Lee Boon Chye announced that starting January 2019, all restaurants will be gazetted as non-smoking areas, regardless of whether they are air-conditioned or open-air hawker centres. This ban also includes vapes and shisha containing nicotine.
Then, in another update on this smoking ban just last week (17th December), it was clarified that people could still smoke in public areas despite the ban. However, they will have to smoke at least 3 metres or 10 feet away from any restaurant they choose to dine in.
What are your thoughts on this latest update? Let us know in the comments below!
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