PETALING JAYA: Former prime minister Najib Razak has chipped in on the smoking ban in eateries from Jan 1, saying he supports it.
He says he is not a smoker and he had consistently advised those who smoked to kick the habit.
“In short, I fully support the efforts of the government to reduce the number of smokers in the country.
“But I also feel we need to respect those who choose to smoke and are not ready to quit just yet,” he said in a Facebook post tonight.
“A smoking ban that is too draconian is unfair to those who still choose to smoke. It is also unfair for food and beverage operators, as well as those in tourism.
“Today you see smoking is prohibited, even on the five-foot way.
“If they cannot even smoke on the five-foot way, are you saying they can only smoke in the middle of the road and wait for the bus to ram into them?”
The Pekan MP said that under the Barisan Nasional (BN) administration, the government had implemented smoking bans at all offices, air-conditioned restaurants and hotels in 2016.
At the same time, it gave some leeway for smoking areas to be allotted outside their premises.
Najib said one should be well aware of the implications to tourism as well as the food and beverage sectors if the ban was too strict and put pressure on them.
He noted that even Western countries which were concerned about health and aware of the impact of smoking had designated smoking areas.
“But the PH government has already removed this leeway.
“The thing is, if the government’s worry is children being exposed to cigarette smoke, why not consider imposing a limit to the ban outside premises?”
He suggested the smoking ban in designated areas outside the premises be exempted after 9pm.
“As for within the premises, even if it is not air-conditioned, the smoking ban should be kept in place to ensure non-smokers can enjoy their food and beverages.”
Najib said there were many other ways to encourage the people to stop smoking, including increasing health campaigns and introducing nicotine patches.