Wednesday August 1, 2012
A healthier Penang
THE Penang government is keen to turn all heritage zones in the state into non-smoking areas.
To achieve this aim, the state will be working together with the Federal Government, the non-governmental organisations (NGOs), Universiti Sains Malaysia and Penang Medical College.
A public survey on this project is expected to be held after the Hari Raya Aidilfitri celebration.
State Health, Welfare, Caring Society and Environment chairman Phee Boon Poh said a steering committee had been formed to standar-dise the questionnaire and look into the proposals made by the public.
“The community need to play their part in making Penang smoke-free.
“Offenders found guilty of smoking in a non-smoking zone could be fined up to RM10,000 or jailed up to two years,” he said.
He was speaking during a press conference after witnessing the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MoU) between Malaysia Health Promotion Board (MySihat) and Penang Heritage Trust (PHT) at Komtar yesterday.
Phee added that six recreational areas in Penang were also in their final process to be gazetted as non-smoking zones by the Health Ministry.
The six are Penang Municipal Park, Penang Botanic Gardens, Air Itam Dam, Teluk Bahang Dam, Mengkuang Dam in Berapit and Taman Bandar Ampang Jajar.
Phee said that thus far, 21 areas in Penang had been gazetted as non-smoking zones.
MySihat chief executive officer Datuk Dr Yahya Baba said the company allocated RM250,000 for the survey and a further RM1mil to run the project for two years in 2013 and 2014.
“The survey will be conducted for about four months and pro- posals submitted by the public will be studied by the committee,’’ he said.
PHT president Khoo Salma Nasution said she was very happy with the initiative taken.
“Heritage is for everyone,” she said.
“World Heritage Sites like Halong Bay in Vietnam and Angkor Wat in Cambodia have been gazetted as non-smoking zones and we are happy to join them.”
Also present at the signing was Penang Health director Datuk Dr Lailanor Ibrahim.
Penang Consumer Protection Association president K. Koris lauded the move to conduct the survey on the proposed move.
“However, the ministry should step up its enforcement to punish offenders who smoke in gazetted non-smoking areas,” said Koris who is also Fomca vice-president and former president of Malaysian Council for Tobacco Control.