PUTRAJAYA: Local authorities who wish to set up special smoking areas in public places within their respective areas can apply for an allocation to the Ministry of Housing and Local Government.
Minister Zuraida Kamaruddin said all the 155 local authorities across the country can built designated smoking areas in selected public places, especially at food courts.
“The ministry will ask all 155 local authorities nationwide to provide special smoking areas in appropriate places. They can apply to the ministry for the allocation to set up the facility,” she told reporters at her office here yesterday.
This was to satisfy the smokers and show that the government was concerned with their plight, she said, adding that enforcement would be carried out by Health Ministry officials.
Zuraida said, owners of food premises who want to set up smoking areas not far from their outlets at their own expense, need to obtain permission in addition to following the guidelines issued by the local authorities.
“The designated smoking area must be outside the dining premises and at least three meters from the last dining table and no food or beverages shall be provided, sold or served in the smoking area in compliance with the Ministry of Health’s regulations,” she added.
According to Zuraida, the owner of the premise has to provide a garbage bin to dispose cigarette butts and it is the owner’s responsibility to keep the area clean.
A clear notice/signboard should be installed to indicate the area is a ‘Smoking Area’, she said.
The proposed smoking area must be located in a roofed/canopied area, however, if the special space involved permanent structure construction, the premises owner would need approval from the local authority.
Beginning Jan 1 last year, the ban on smoking was enforced in all closed restaurants, in air-conditioned restaurants and open stalls, but smokers were still allowed to smoke at a distance of three metres from outside the restaurant.
On Jan 1 this year, the Health Ministry implemented a full ban on smoking in restaurants with a maximum compound of up to RM350.
Earlier, Deputy Health Minister Dr Lee Boon Chye said food premises were not allowed to provide a special space for smoking within the business operations area and the outside smoking areas (about three metres away) was not under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Health but the local authorities. − Bernama