KUALA LUMPUR — May 29, 2019: A high court today set August 22 to hear the judicial review filed by seven individuals challenging the decision of the health ministry to gazette all places in the country as non-smoking areas from last January 1.
Lawyer Mohamed Haniff Khatri Abdulla, for the seven, told reporters the new date was fixed as the respondent had filed a new affidavit last Friday.
On January 29 the seven obtained permission at a high court to initiate judicial review proceedings to challenge the ban.
Mohd. Hanizam Yunus, Zulkifli Mohamad, Mohd. Laisani Dollah, Mohd. Sufian Awaludin, Ridzuan Muhammad Noor, Mohd. Yazid Mohd. Yunus and Yuri Azhar Abdollah filed the application in their individual capacity and on behalf of smokers who support the Smokers’ Rights Club.
In an application filed last December 31, they claimed that the ban went against the federal Constitution as smoking was not deemed a criminal activity or banned in the country.
They claimed that smokers had equal rights with non-smokers to visit and spend their time in food premises for as long as they wished.
They further claimed that the smoking ban ran contrary to the provisions and principles of law and or went against procedures, as the respondent was never reported to have met smokers or stakeholders to discuss the ban beforehand.
The applicants also claimed that the government did not provide adequate facilities such as smoking areas, nor included provisions under the ban for entrepreneurs to prepare their own non-smoking areas.
They also applied for a restriction order to prevent the respondent from enforcing the ban plus a temporary suspension of the ban pending the outcome of the judicial review.
The ministry had imposed the ban at all restaurants and food premises including those that are covered, air-conditioned or open-air with a focus on educating the public until next month.
However, in April, the educational enforcement period was extended until the end of the year. — Bernama