Jul 26, 2016

Kedah Exco: Give jobs only to non-smokers

LANGKAWI: A Kedah state executive councillor today proposed that only candidates who do not smoke be considered for employment in the public or private sectors.

Dr Leong Yong Kong, who is in charge of the health portfolio, said this condition could be a prelude to efforts to stop the smoking habit and inculcate a healthy lifestyle among the workforce.

“If this proposal is approved, people will have the notion that it is difficult to get employed if you smoke, thus forcing job-seekers to kick the habit,” he said in his speech at the launch of the state-level “World No Tobacco Day 2016” here.

According to him, civil servants could take the lead in kicking the smoking habit and, in doing so, help reduce serious health problems in the country.

“Our vision to free society from cigarette smoking can only be achieved through unity and involvement of all levels of society.”

When met after the ceremony, Leong said the no-smoking condition for job- seekers was his personal recommendation and he welcomed the views of all parties on the matter.

“Definitely, there will be people who will argue that this is a basic human right and it cannot be implemented … but it is up to the public to discuss this together,” he said.

On the Customs Department’s plans to implement a new ruling to limit tax-free cigarette sales in Langkawi effective Aug 1, he said this measure might not be able to decrease smoking or reduce smuggling.

He said that in the current situation, it was better to step up patrols and other enforcement activities rather than introduce new regulations which would probably encourage more smuggling.

“With constant monitoring, we can minimise smuggling or at least know what is happening and keep track of the smugglers.”

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