MIRI: The federal ban on smoking in and around eateries can be enforced in Sarawak immediately even without the state government’s approval, says Sarawak DAP deputy chairman Chiew Ching Sing (pic).
"The ban on smoking in and around eateries is a matter of public health. Therefore, it is a national issue and not just a state government issue.
He added that public health is a federal issue under the Health Ministry.
“In that context, the ban is enforceable throughout Sarawak even now, despite the state government saying it has yet to decide whether to impose the ban,” he said.
Chiew added that the Health Ministry in Putrajaya can issue a directive to the Sarawak Health Department to enforce the ban immediately.
“This is a matter of public concern. With or without state approval, the ban must be imposed in Sarawak for the good of the general public,” he said Friday (Jan 4).
Chiew is the Tanjung Batu assemblyman.
He said Sarawak is the odd one out in not following the federal ban that came into force on Jan 1.
Sarawak Minister for Housing and Local Government Datuk Prof Dr Sim Kui Hian had said the State Cabinet needed to deliberate before deciding whether to amend any by-laws to impose the ban in Sarawak.
Chiew disagreed with Dr Sim, stating that there was no good reason for Sarawak not to do so since the state government had nothing to lose at all in adopting the ban.
"In fact, the ban will be good overall in protecting the health of the general public.
"As it is now, there is no effective law controlling smoking in public in Sarawak.
“People are smoking in eateries, restaurants, air-conditioned premises, shopping centres and public buildings,” he said