KUALA LUMPUR, May 21 — The Congress of Unions of Employees in the Public and Civil Services (Cuepacs) is proposing to the Ministry of Health (MOH) to create a special team to monitor compliance and enforcement of the smoking ban in food and restaurant premises.

Its president Datuk Adnan Mat said the proposal follows a report from the Global Adult Tobacco Survey (GATS) 2023 which revealed that almost 80 per cent of the respondents surveyed in Malaysia stated that they had been exposed to cigarette smoke through food premises and restaurants.

“The findings are of course surprising because food premises and restaurants should provide a safe and smoke-free environment as they are visited by many people including children.

“Various actions and enforcement activities have been carried out by the authorities to ensure compliance with smoking ban areas, but there are still parties who refuse to comply with the regulations,” he said in a statement today.

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He said currently more than 5,000 positions of environmental health officers or assistant environmental health officers (PKP/PPKP) have been created in the Ministry of Health, but that number is not able to fully enforce the no-smoking areas because they are also burdened with other duties such as infectious disease control, vector control, food quality and safety monitoring.

“If the government wants to see the success of this enforcement, then the creation of special positions and the addition of PKP/PPKP positions are necessary to make smoking ban enforcement activities successful, especially at food premises,” he said.

Adnan also requested the Ministry of Health to ensure that contract positions for PKP/PPKP can be absorbed into permanent positions so that they continue to serve the ministry, especially to ensure the success of infectious disease control and prevention activities as well as the enforcement of public health laws.

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Previously, Health director-general Datuk Dr Muhammad Radzi Abu Hassan said a total of 7,195 notices valued at more than RM1.01 million were issued from 17,719 premises visited through the enforcement of the Control of Tobacco Product Regulations (PPKHT) 2004 last month. — Bernama