KUALA LUMPUR, September 30 – Shopkeepers and tourists alike are voicing their disagreement over the move to turn Batu Ferringhi into a smoke-free area.
“We have customers who smoke including women. They like to take a puff while chilling along the beach after their meals,” food operator K. Ratha said, according to The Star.
“If Batu Ferringhi is made a smoke-free area, many tourists will feel their freedom is restricted and they may avoid coming here,” Giulia Raio, a French tourist, was quoted as saying.
“The beach is an open area; how can you stop people from smoking there?” asked a reflexology shop owner who only wanted to be known as Ah Hoe.
The smoke-free zone would begin at the Penang Floating Mosque and end at Bayview Beach Resort along Jalan Batu Ferringhi.
Those who offend the ruling will be fined between RM250 and RM500.
“Those who fail to pay their compounds can be brought to court and fined a maximum of RM10,000, or face up to two years in prison if found guilty,” State health committee chairman Dr Afif Bahardin said.
“We will send an application to the Health Ministry to gazette Batu Ferringhi as a smoke-free zone,” he said.
The process is expected to take between three to four months.
“After Batu Ferringhi, next will be Bayan Baru and Balik Pulau. As for the mainland, Bandar Sunway in Seberang Jaya, Bertam and Nibong Tebal will also be gazetted as smoke-free zones soon.”