KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 2 — Health authorities issued compounds against smokers totalling RM144,450 yesterday, the first day of the nationwide smoking ban at all restaurants and open eateries.
Health director-general Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah today said the eight-hour operation, which started at 8am yesterday and ended at midnight, saw 605 notices issued.
The operation, which involved 2,087 enforcement agents from the Ministry of Health (MOH) checking 6,119 eateries, also saw notices being issued to 34 underaged individuals, he added in a statement.
Apart from this, 103 notices with compounds of RM25,750 were issued to restaurant owners, 79 notices of which were issued due to failure to place a no-smoking sign on their premises. Another 24 notices were for providing smoking amenities.
Those found smoking or vaping in prohibited areas — which includes eateries, pubs and clubs — may get an RM250 compound, or face a maximum RM10,000 fine or up to two years’ jail if brought to court. If they make payment within one month of the compound being issued, the fine is reduced to RM150.
Restaurant operators who fail to put up no-smoking signs, on the other hand, also face an RM250 compound, or risk a fine not exceeding RM3,000 or imprisonment of up to six months if prosecuted. Eatery owners are also forbidden from providing ashtrays and shisha services.
Smokers and restaurant operators who commit a second offence also get an RM250 compound, while third-time offenders will have to cough up RM350.
The new law has been in effect since January 1 last year, but smokers were given a “grace period” or 12 months, labelled by MOH as educational enforcement.
Bernama reported that more than 160 smokers and restaurant owners were issued compound fine notices for smoking offences yesterday.
Meanwhile, Dr Noor Hisham said the number of offences recorded by restaurant owners have dropped from a similar operation carried out on January 1 last year, when the smoking ban came into effect. There were 47 per cent such offences on January 1 last year compared to 1.7 per cent yesterday.
“However, the number of smokers who smoke at eateries is still high, with 10 per cent of smokers found smoking at premises that MOH visited,” he said.
“MOH requests the cooperation of all parties to abide by the smoking ban to ensure the health of the society is guaranteed.”