"See You In Court" - Health Minister Tells Smokers Who Are Challenging The Smoking Ban

Seven members of the newly-established Smokers Right Club filed a judicial review to challenge the smoking ban on 31 December 2018.

Cover image via Malay Mail/Free Malaysia Today (edited)

Seven members of the newly-established Smokers Right Club filed a judicial review application on 31 December 2018 to challenge the smoking ban

Malaysiakini reported that the application, which was filed by Messrs Haniff Khatri at the Kuala Lumpur High Court earlier this week, named the Ministry of Health as the sole respondent.

The club was reportedly formed and registered on 24 December 2018.

According to Malay Mail, the group wants the ban, which came into effect yesterday, to be declared unconstitutional. They also seek an injunction against the Health Ministry from implementing the smoking ban.

Image via Malaysiakini

The Smokers Right Club cited several reasons for the legal challenge

The group argued that smoking is not a crime, and claimed equality in rights with non-smokers, according to Malaysiakini. 

The members added that their rights to enter eateries are now imaginary, violated, and discriminated against as they are no longer allowed to smoke.

Moreover, the smoking ban was "unreasonable" as the government still collects taxes from cigarettes. 

In response to the challenge, Health Minister Datuk Seri Dzulkefly Ahmad expressed confidence in the court

Image via Malay Mail

"This is a democratic country and they have the channel and the right to express their dissent with us," the Health Minister was quoted as saying by Malay Mail yesterday, 1 January.

"We will see them in court in order to ensure we can successfully carry out the programme to safeguard the health of Malaysians, like young children and the elderly, who cannot defend themselves (from smoke) in public places," Dzulkefly added, according to New Straits Times.

Meanwhile in Sarawak, the local government has yet to enforce the smoking ban

The Star reported today that the state is delaying implementation of the ban until after a meeting with stakeholders on 9 January. 

The Sarawak Health Department will be hosting the meeting, according to State Local Government and Housing Minister Datuk Dr. Sim Kui Hian. 

For the time being, customers at three eateries in Sarawak were seen smoking while seated at the tables. 

The smoking ban came into effect yesterday. Here's all you need to know about it: