PUTRAJAYA, Aug 27 — Social work punishment such as cleaning toilets, collecting rubbish and cutting grass is being considered for offenders of the smoking ban at public places, said Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad.

“The punishment will make people think twice especially those who can afford the fine. So I am looking at social work punishment closely and judiciously,” he said when asked on the effectiveness of social work punishment.

Speaking at the Health Ministry (KKM)’s monthly assembly here today, Dr Dzulkefly reminded employees of the ministry to show a good example to the people by respecting the smoking ban in the ministry’s premises and in public places.

In jest, he said the percentage of KKM staff who are still smokers is the ministry’s top secret and he had to accept the fact that there are employees who could not kick the smoking habit.

Effective January 1 2019, a smoking ban was enforced at all restaurants and stalls regardless of whether the premises are enclosed or open by the roadside.

Smokers nabbed at such prohibited areas would face a maximum fine of RM10,000 or a jail term not exceeding two years.

The period of enforcement education to gazette eating places as smoking ban areas was initially set for six months and it was later extended to the end of the year.

According to Dr Dzulkefly, 129,180 premises were inspected to date with more than 30,698 smoking warning notices issued.

Meanwhile, Dr Dzulkefly said KKM would monitor the preparation of free breakfast to school pupils as announced by Education Minister Dr Maszlee Malik yesterday to look after the safety of food provided.

“KKM will also monitor the dietary aspect and nutrition of food provided,” he said when commenting on the announcement by Maszlee that the government would be providing free breakfast for all primary school students nationwide from January next year (2020).

According to Maszlee, the initiative was introduced to ensure students are healthy and energetic while attending classes. — Bernama