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Man apologises to deputy minister over smoking ban tirade

Published:  |  Modified:

A man has publicly apologised to Dr Lee Boon Chye for openly flouting the smoking ban and hurling insults at the deputy health minister.

The man, identified as 67-year-old Cai Chang Fa in Guangming Daily, was one of two people featured in a circulating viral video, which shows them smoking in front of a 'no smoking' sign in a Taiping market. 

Both also hurled insults at Lee and Perak DAP chief Nga Kor Ming over the smoking ban.

The video also shows one of the pair, who remains unidentified, challenging authorities to arrest him, with Cai adding that he would not vote for DAP in the next election.

At a press conference after a visit to the same market this morning, Lee told reporters that he accepts the apology, and considers the matter closed.

He said the government accepts criticism, and many have also criticised the ban on smoking at open-air eateries, but warned members of the public not to flout the law.

“Although we accept any views or criticism from the people regarding any law or policy that we take, we hope no one would challenge the law,” he said.

A video of the apology and press conference was broadcast live through Lee’s Facebook account.

In the video, Cai is seen approaching Lee to make his apology, as the latter visited Pasar Siang Malam Taiping.

He said he had no ill intentions, and did not expect the video to become an overnight sensation.

Lee, in turn, told Cai to cut down on his smoking, especially in crowded areas.

According to Guangming Daily, Cai had gone to the market this morning upon hearing that the deputy minister would be visiting the market.

He had also recorded a 22-second video to apologise to Nga. He claimed to be a DAP supporter, but had misspoken because he was drunk.

“Please forgive me. We are all good friends and I have supported DAP for so long,” he was quoted as saying.

On Jan 1, the government began to enforce an expansion to the smoking ban to include open-air eateries, primarily by educating citizens on the new ban and instructing eateries to put up 'no smoking' signs.

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