REWARDING isn’t just about giving money.
It could be something that portrays appreciation to good deeds done by responsible and caring people.
The newly-announced RM10,000 penalty to those who smoke in restaurants is, to me, an applaudable action by the government as signages of “No Smoking” seem invisible to some uncivilised smokers.
On top of that, I would like to recommend to the government that those who tube complaints about smokers who smoke in restaurants should be rewarded.
Some of us don’t really care about disallowing smokers from lighting up their ciggies in food premises, especially coffee shops, even smokes dispensed by their cigarettes irritate our noses.
Doing nothing in stopping people from smoking within non-smoking areas must not be made a choice of acting.
But before getting the “crueller penalty” enforced, the government has to notify every restaurant or cafe operator to either provide a dedicated smoking zone within its premise compound or wholly prohibit smokers from smoking.
The enforcement would remain stagnantly meaningless if restaurant operators are being unconcerned about warning ignorant smokers and raising complaints to authorities.
Instead of just photographing thieves or wild criminals for a viral, CCTVs placed at restaurants or cafes must also be benefited to evidence smokers who smoke within prohibited smoking zones that are set by the premises.
Even though it will be enforced on January next year, food premises, be they restaurant or hipster cafe or high-class hotel lounge, must now decide on whether to let their customers smoke within their gazetted smoking area or instantly channel complaints to entrusted authorities who are responsible of receiving related complaints.
To make it fair to both stubborn smokers and cafe operators, channeled complaints must be in photographed images or recorded videos.
CCTVs could only be used to concretely convince responsible authorities of the presence of busted smokers.
As a suggestion to the idea of rewarding complainants, cooperative restaurant operators could be offered by the government with reduction in their business tax.
For individual complainants whose income is taxable, rewarding them with a tax relief sounds pleasant.
And those who don’t, they could be offered with exemption of road summons linked to government-related agencies like PDRM, DBKL and state or city councils.
Discounted road tax could also be considered of being made a reward to “concerned citizens” who detest smoking in public places.
The government, especially the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Finance, should consider this idea of rewarding complainants as it will surely pull more people to be really serious about standing against smokers who would still not comply the enforcement.
To complement the RM10,000 penalty, the government must also inflate the price of cigarettes of all brands as an effort to cripple smokers’ buying power as well as increase the minimum fine up to RM1,000,000 to those who buy smuggled cigarettes.
* Amerul Azry Abdul Aziz is an independent writer who now views politics as something that can be researched.
**The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the position of Astro AWANI.