Smoking Ban Advocates Push Civil Suit Against Shopping Mall
The Jakarta Residents Forum brought in an expert witness on Monday to testify in an ongoing civil suit against the management of the ITC Cempaka Mas shopping center.
The forum, known as Fakta, filed the lawsuit in May of last year at the Central Jakarta District Court, accusing the mall of ignoring the 2010 ban on smoking in public spaces by allowing people to smoke inside the premises.
“Before we lodged the lawsuit, we issued summonses to ITC twice but got no response,” said Haryo, from the Public Advocate Solidarity for Tobacco Control (Sapta), a group representing the forum.
Haryo said the Jakarta government had been conducting regular inspections at the mall but the practice continued once the raids were over.
“Until recently, you could still see people smoking at the food court,” he said. “[Mall] security never patrols or enforces the regulation, and the mall’s management never informed the public about the ban.
“We don’t want any compensation. We just want [the mall] to enforce the ban and set a good example.”
The group presented Widyastuti Soerojo, an activist from the Southeast Asia Tobacco Control Alliance, as an expert witness at the trial, saying that the public had the right to be informed about the dangers of smoking.
“Society normally sees cigarette fumes as nuisance,” Widyastuti said. “But we must stress here that it is not just nuisance but a dangerous health hazard as well.”
Widyastuti explained to the court that by not enforcing the city regulation, the mall was violating non-smokers’ rights to good health.
“[The mall] should provide places away from the main building so that people who want to smoke will have a place to do it,” she said. “They have to isolate the smokers from the non-smokers.”