KUCHING: Sarawak is expected to have its own smoking ban rules, taking into consideration all circumstances and the state’s Local Government Ordinance.
Sarawak Local Government and Housing Minister Datuk Dr Sim Kui Hian said there was more to be done to ban smoking, including looking into tobacco products.
“In order to tackle the issue, we have a lot to do, not only legislation but also ensure an effective and holistic approach.
“When I said the smoking ban doesn’t apply to Sarawak (two days ago), it doesn’t mean we encourage people to smoke,” he said when contacted today.
Sarawak has its own Local Government Ordinance to adhere to, therefore, the smoking ban introduced by the Health Ministry, which takes effect on Jan 1, was not applicable to the state.
“This is our right, just like our immigration where we have autonomy in certain issues as stated in Malaysia Agreement 1963. We are exercising our right to safeguard and protect the interest of Sarawak,” he said.
When asked if the state government would consider adopting the ban, Sim said the state would come out with its smoking ban.
The Minister, who is a cardiologist, said he was always against smoking.
“As a cardiologist, I have been advocating anti-smoking throughout my professional life and will continue to do so. Smoking is bad while second-hand smoke is even worse.
“Thus, I’m disappointed with some quarters and misinterpretation that Sarawak is supporting smoking habit, just because we don’t follow suit (with the Federal Government’s move).
“But we will come out with our own smoking ban,” he said, without further elaboration.