Health Ministry stands by smoking ban in Parliament

The Health Ministry said today it would not reverse a smoking ban in Parliament, but planned to designate a smoking area outside the building. — Reuters pic
The Health Ministry said today it would not reverse a smoking ban in Parliament, but planned to designate a smoking area outside the building. — Reuters pic

KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 18 — The Health Ministry said today it would not reverse a smoking ban in Parliament, but planned to designate a smoking area outside the building.

Health Minister Datuk Seri Dzulkefly Ahmad said he, his deputy Dr Lee Boon Chye, and two ministry officials met Dewan Rakyat Speaker Datuk Mohmad Ariff Md Yusof this morning to explain the ban.

“Following our meeting, MOH explained its stance that the ban on smoking in the Parliament building is in accordance to Article 8 of the World Health Organisation’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, which is to protect non-smokers from cigarette smoke, and Regulation 11 of the Control of Tobacco Product Regulations 2004.

“The enforcement is necessary to protect public health and it must start with the institution of Parliament,” Dzulkefly said in a statement.

Dzulkefly said an alternative smoking area outside the Parliament will be provided temporarily until a proper designated area can be established.

He also said in the effort to achieve zero smoking in Parliament and the cafeteria in the building, the ministry will cooperate with its partner mQuit which provides medical treatment for individuals who want to quit smoking.

“The service would be available at Parliament’s lobby for free,” he said.

Sungai Petani MP Datuk Johari Abdul argued earlier today that the Health Ministry had no power to enforce the smoking ban, as the Parliamentary Privileges and Powers Act 1952 states that only the Speaker has the right to issue any notice.

Johari was supported by Kuala Krau MP Datuk Seri Ismail Mohamed Said and Kinabatangan MP Datuk Seri Bung Moktar Radin.

On Tuesday, an MP was among eight people who received a compound notice for smoking in the Parliament building.