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This article first appeared in The Edge Financial Daily on October 30, 2019

KUALA LUMPUR: The smoking ban in eateries still stands.

This follows the High Court dismissing the constitutional challenge brought by seven smokers as it ruled yesterday the health ministry’s move to impose the ban is not filled with illegality and impropriety.

Justice Datuk Seri Mariana Yahya also ruled that the ban, in force since Jan 1, does not violate smokers’ rights of equality and liberty as they are still free to eat at the places, but they cannot smoke within three metres from the restaurant premises.

She made no order as to costs.

The plaintiffs — Mohd Sufian Awaludin, Zulkifli Mohamad, Mohd Laisani Dollah, Ridzuan Muhamad Noor, Mohd Hanizam Yunus, Mohd Yazid Mohd Yunus and Yuri Azhar Abdullah — formed a smoker group to file a judicial review application late last year challenging the ban on smoking in restaurants on the ground that it is unconstitutional as it violates Articles 5 (liberty of a person) and 8 (equality) of the Federal Constitution.

They claimed that the health ministry did not consult smokers before imposing the condition, hence the implementation by the government is irrational and not according to procedure. Moreover, they are taxpayers and smoking is not a criminal offence.

Those who violate the ban face a RM10,000 fine or a maximum of two years in jail.

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