The Malaysian government has decided to turn all hotels in the country in no smoking zones by the end of this year. Hoteliers in the country, however, are unclear and uncertain about the decision.
The policy is a move by several ministries and stakeholders, which includes Malaysian Council for Tobacco Control. It will be expanded to other public areas in the coming years. The aim is to include recreational parks by next year, non-air conditioned restaurants in 2018, all enclosed public areas in 2019 and open public areas in 2020, as no smoking zones.
The project is aimed to help 130,000 smokers to get rid of the habit every year, reported Malay Mail Online. Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr. S Subramaniam stated, “We aim to reduce the prevalence of tobacco smoking by 30 percent by 2025.”
Meanwhile, the hoteliers have called on the government to consult the industry’s stakeholders before making any decision. They argued that the ban would possibly affect their businesses, reported Asian Correspondents.
Malaysian Association of Hotels (MAH) president Sam Cheah said, “In some countries, designated smoking areas are outside the hotels, some even away from the building. It should not be an issue. Some hotels also have cigar bars. Will that be banned too?”
Malaysia Budget Hotel Association president P.K. Leong echoed the same concern and said that the government would engage the hotel industry before the plan is executed. Leong also expressed confusion as it was not clear whether the government wanted hotels to be smoke-free or smokers are allowed to smoke in designated areas.
Malaysian Association of Hotel Owners executive director Shaharuddin M. Saaid supported the government’s plan. According to him, hotel rooms used by smokers left an odor which lingers for a long time. However, he said that it should be done in stages, stating the reason that they need time as they had guests who smoke.
The move can prove a great boost to improve the public health in the country. China, lately, has come up with a creative plan to reduce air pollution in the country.