New Malaysian Laws That Will Come Into Effect In 2019!
New Year, New Me? More like…New Year, New Laws!
Malaysians are set to see some changes in their laws this year. Some laws are new, while some others are revamped. Either way, Malaysians are expected to follow the new laws, and the ones who did not were allegedly given warning letters.
Perhaps the biggest law to be introduced to Malaysians this year is the smoking ban. The smoking ban came into effect on 1st January 2019 where smokers are not allowed to smoke in or anywhere near air-conditioned and open-air restaurants. This also includes premises such as coffee shops, hawker centres, and street stalls.
Eateries are not allowed to have any designated smoking area. Smokers are expected to stand three (3) metres away minimum from eateries to smoke, according to a report from Berita Harian (link in Bahasa Melayu).
Penang and Kedah authorities have reportedly issued more than 1700 warning notices over the smoking ban. The warning notices came after owners of eateries did not put up no-smoking signs.
“They must display these signs at highly-visible places. The owners of eateries which do not do this can be issued compound fines. We hope that with the enforcement operation which we are conducting, there will be an increase in awareness among the public (about the law), especially among those who are at risk of being passive smokers,” Dr. Afif Bahardin, State Health, Agriculture and Agro-based Industries and Rural Development Committee chairman, said after an operation against smokers at eateries.
The warning letters did not just include being issued to eatery owners not putting up the no-smoking notice, but also to those who failed to stop smokers from lighting up at their eating premises.
Float prices for petrol
“The current automatic pricing mechanism (APM) will be replaced with a weekly review in the current trend of declining global oil prices, to allow users to enjoy quicker price reviews. Hence, the retail price of petrol is expected to drop beginning Jan 1, 2019. And if the declining trend of prices continues, then fuel prices will be reduced each week,” Lim said in a statement today.
Although fuel prices may have returned to float prices, it does not mean it will stay uncontrolled. Malaysians can expect fuel prices be capped at RM2.20/litre and RM2.18/litre for Ron25 and Diesel respectively, should the global crude prices increase in the future. “This will be done until we implement the proposed targeted petrol subsidy some time (in 2019),” he further clarifies.
In a news report by Malay Mail, KPDNHEP secretary-general Datuk Seri Jamil Salleh denied claims that consumers will not face difficulty getting fuel. He went on to explain both petrol and diesel are classified as scheduled control items under the Control of Supplies Act 1961 in a news report here.
“Therefore, the government will ensure that the supply of scheduled goods is always on the market and easily accessible to consumers at all times,” Jamil said in a statement released on 26th December 2018.
Minimum wage of RM1,100
Minimum wage raised to RM1,100 was proposed by the Malaysian government starting 1st January 2019. Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng this move was adopted to help with the rising cost of living faced by Malaysians. He said the government will be reviewing labour laws to empower the power market, employee welfare as well as prohibit any form of discrimination from employers.
“We understand the need and importance of ensuring that salaries can cope with the rising cost of living, hence the government has proposed that the minimum wage be raised to RM1,100 nationwide from Jan 1, 2019,” he said while tabling the 2019 Budget in the Dewan Rakyat.
Urban Transformation Centres (UTCs) will close by 7pm daily starting 2019
Previously, Urban Transformation Centres (UTCs) operates up to 10pm. Malaysian newspaper The Star has reported that UTCs will open from 8am to 7pm starting January 2019, and will remain closed on state and federal public holidays.
The Star has further reported that the Friday prayers will play a part in UTCs’ operation hours. The Friday prayers are from 12.15pm to 2.45pm for UTCs in peninsular Malaysia, 11.30pm to 2pm for branches in Sabah and Labuan, and 11.30am to 2pm for Sarawak branches. Therefore, the aforementioned times will remained closed from operations.
Plastic straw banned across all federal territories
As 2019 sees plenty of new laws implemented or changed, Malaysia has hopped on the plastic straw ban wagon. The plastic straw ban has been included in requirements for business licenses in all Federal Territories. The move came as an advocate for environmental sustainability and well-being of the capital city residents.
Minister Khalid Abdul Samad said straws made from biodegradable materials can be used to replace the conventional plastic straws. Biodegradable materials used to make straws includes paper and similar. “This effort would not be successful without the cooperation from people from different background. This includes students at the higher learning institutes and Teachers’ Training Institutes (IPG),” he said in his speech at the FT-level National Environment Day at IPG Ilmu Khas on Sunday.
On the other hand, Malaysians can expect to see awareness campaign on the negative effects of using the conventional plastic straws thorough 2019. The awareness campaign will run through the year until the ban is fully enforced.
Levies for travellers travelling out of Malaysia
Starting 1st June 2019, passengers flying to ASEAN countries will have to pay RM20. Passengers who are flying to other non-ASEAN countries will have to pay RM40. This travel levy announcement came after Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng announced the travel overseas via air routes at Pakatan Harapan’s budget tabling.
Whether you are a big fan of sugary drinks or not, its about to get taxed. Starting April 2019 Malaysians will see a tax of 40cents/litre on sugary drinks. This applies to drinks with added sugar or sweeterners exceeding 5g per 100ml. Fruit and vegetable juices with sugar level exceeding 12g per 100ml will be taxed too. Check out here for more information.
Conclusively, Malaysians will see a year of more changes. With a new government in place, it is expected to see changes and implementations of new laws in the country.