Malaysian states target new shisha laws

 KUALA LUMPUR: State religious departments  will enact new laws against the use  of shisha among Muslims, following the decree by National Council of Islamic Affairs on Friday that it is haram (forbidden).

As the edict (fatwa) has yet to be formalised, state mufti said the rule would be structured with its own set of laws to make the offence punishable.

Perak mufti Tan Sri Harussani Zakaria said the ban would be adopted in states that did not forbid shisha smoking and any related activity.

"Yes, we can do that. It is not necessarily just a spiritual guide for Muslims but an edict can be accompanied with by-laws to inculcate awareness."

Malacca and Kelantan were the first to ban the sale of shisha in 2011. The ban in Malacca was implemented after a French Anti-Tobacco Agency report revealed that a single puff of shisha contained the same amount of carbon monoxide as smoking 52 cigarettes.

In Kelantan, the ban was confined to Kota Baru when the municipal council banned all food outlets from allowing shisha smoking on their premises in February that year.

Johor mufti Datuk Mohd Tahrir Samsudin said meetings with relevant state agencies would be held soon to determine the body suitable to carry out enforcement work.

"We (muftis) just got back from a meeting with the national council and will adopt the prohibition in our respective states as soon as possible.

"Laws will be formulated to deter Muslims from smoking shisha. However, we have yet to specify the types of punishment against offenders," said Tahrir yesterday.

The national council's fatwa committee chairman, Professor Emeritus Tan Sri Dr Abdul Shukor Husin, said the decree was issued after deliberating on the opinions of Health Ministry experts and studying scientific findings published locally and internationally on the effects of smoking shisha.