News & Views

TACKLING SINGLE USE PLASTICS AND SMOKING

Posted on 28th February 2019

New regulations under the Food Act, 1983 dramatically restricts the consumption of cigarettes and smoking throughout Malaysia. The Control of Tobacco Product Regulations 2018 came into force on 1 January 2019 and provides that “No person shall smoke in any eating place or air-conditionedshop”.

“Eating place” means any premises whether inside or outside a building, where food is prepared, served or sold and includes –

(a)          any room or area on a ship or train where food is prepared, served or sold;

(b)          any area on a vehicle where food is prepared served or sold, and any surrounding area within a radius of three meters from the vehicle; and

(c)           any area within a radius of three meters from any table or chair which is placed for the purposes of preparing, serving or selling food.

Regulation 11(1A) further provides that

(a)          any area of a premises refers to the whole area of the premises including any area inside the building and the surrounding area of the building which is within the borders of the fence of the land lot of the premises; and

(b)          any area in a building refers to any area inside the building and includes the five-foot way and within three meters from the distance of the building line, and also includes the area covered by any additional permanent roof that is connected to the main building.

Regulation 11(3) states that any person who contravenes sub-regulation (1) commits an offence and shall on conviction be liable to a fine not exceeding RM10,000 or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 2 years.

Proprietors or occupiers of an eating place must at all times:

(a)          display a sign with regards to the prohibition of smoking at any conspicuous part of the premise or at any entrance to the premises; and

(b)          ensure that no person smokes in the premise or vehicle or in the building or the place.

In tandem with the general policy to limit the use of plastics the Malaysian government also issued a policy statement called Malaysia’s Roadmap Towards Zero Single-Use Plastics 2018 – 2030. Though not legally binding the Roadmap recommends that each State impose what is called a “pollution charge” on plastic bags of no less than RM0.20per bag. The target is to have the policy implemented nationwide by the end of 2021. Pursuant to the Roadmap, the pollution charge should apply to fixed premises which are hypermarkets, supermarkets, departmental stores, convenient stores, fast food restaurants,petrol station convenient stores, chain stores and pharmacies. The government targets to extend the minimum pollution charge to non-fixed premises by 2025.  The Roadmap also introduces a “no straw by default” practice where plastic drinking straws will only be given upon request.

By Thoo Lit Ying