SMC: No-smoking policy at eateries good, but discarded butts a problem

Posted on 31 Aug 2022
Source of News: The Borneo Post (Jane Moh)

Ting (second left) chairs the SMC full council meeting.Ting (second left) chairs the SMC full council meeting.

SIBU (Aug 31): The no-smoking policy at coffee shops and eateries is a good policy, but has resulted in the littering of cigarette butts as smokers head outside to light up, says Sibu Municipal Council (SMC) chairman councillor Clarence Ting.

As such, he hopes the Ministry of Health (MoH) and the council could have a dialogue to work out the best solution on the implementation of the anti-smoking law.

“I am most concerned about Sibu’s cleanliness and there are so many coffee shops and food outlets in Sibu – about 900. How are we going to sweep all these places, all the outlets, if they all stand outside and smoke and throw the butts?

“This is one of the issues about anti-smoking law and I hope that between the health department and council, we can work together to not only stop smoking at the coffee shop or the restaurant but also how we can handle the rubbish,” he told reporters after the full council meeting yesterday.

Ting said the anti-smoking law is a federal law set by MoH and that enforcement is also by the ministry and not SMC.

He said the council does not have the authority to issue a compound to those who smoke.

“The council can use the anti-littering by-law on those who litter, but it does not resolve the issue. And given we have about 900 coffee shops and food outlets in Sibu, and we only have 35 enforcement officers, it is an impossible task,” he pointed out.

He said previously, there was a suggestion to allocate an area for smoking but they could not find a suitable place.

“I saw some in Kuching, they look like a bus stop, but people do not use it because it is quite far, so that is why we need to look into this issue.”

Ting said he has received comments from members of the public that there are too many people smoking in coffee shops now, and admitted that the council does not know what to do to tackle the issue.

“Sometimes, the council takes time to get things done, and sometimes we need to think about other departments, how we can all work together to make sure that we can stop people smoking and also resolve rubbish (discarded cigarette butts) issue,” he said.