A man caught flouting the smoking ban inside a nasi kandar restaurant in Shah Alam is now wanted by the police – not for puffing away in a smoke-free zone but for assaulting the waiter who tried to stop him from lighting up.
The cops are asking the smoker whose assault was captured on the restaurant’s CCTV to turn himself in for investigation under Section 323 of the Penal Code for voluntarily causing hurt to another.
Shah Alam police chief Assistant Commissioner Baharudin Mat Taib said the waiter at Restoran Ameer Corner in Seksyen 25 spotted three people smoking inside the premises in violation of the smoking ban around 12.30pm on January 1- the day the no-smoking rule in eateries was implemented.
“The 25-year-old waiter from India approached the suspect politely but was immediately slapped on the face by a suspect shortly before the trio left the premises after making payment,” Baharudin said.
The waiter, M Selvam, reported the incident to the local restaurant owner who later lodged a police report on the assault of his worker, who did not suffer any serious injury.
“It was around 12.30pm on first day of the ban on Jan 1. We had placed no smoking signs, but some customers were still smoking.
“I went over to politely tell a group of three men to stop smoking, but one of them got up slapped me before all of them left,” Selvam was quoted as telling The Star.
Baharudin said police have the CCTV footage of the incident and the testimony of witnesses also.
“There were two other workers and five patrons at the time of the incident. The waiter also claimed that the suspect was a non-regular at the restaurant,” he said.
Baharudin hopes the suspect will voluntarily turn himself in to the police for his statement to be recorded.
He added that the restaurant owner filed a police report as a safeguard against being reprimanded by the authorities for not observing the regulations of the smoking ban.
Later that day, Selvam was scolded by another customer for the same reason.
“I don’t know why people can’t just follow the rules and behave like this,” he said.
Malaysia has banned smoking in certain public spaces such as restaurants, including open-air ones, from last Tuesday.
Anyone found guilty of smoking in prohibited areas can be fined up to RM10,000 or jailed up to two years under Regulation 11 of the Control of Tobacco Product Regulations 2004.
Operators of eateries who fail to display the smoking ban signage can be fined up to RM3,000 or jailed up to six months under Regulation 12 of the Control of Tobacco Product Regulations 2004.
For the offence of failing to ensure that nobody smokes and for providing smoking facilities, restauranteurs can be fined up to RM5,000 or imprisoned up to one year.
However, the Health Ministry is giving a six-month grace period to restaurant operators and their patrons, and will start enforcing the law only from July 1.