By SM Mohd Idris
The Consumers’ Association of Penang (CAP) congratulates the police for wanting to take tough action against firecracker and fireworks offences.
It was reported that Inspector-General of Police, Khalid Abu Bakar had said that the police will be coming hard on those in possession of such explosives in violation of Section 8 of the Explosives Act 1957. If convicted, they can be imprisoned for up to seven years, fined RM10,000 or both.
He also pointed out that the police is empowered to “enter or board and search any house, premises or other buildings or place or any vehicle, vessel or aircraft specified in the warrant and to search all persons found therein and thereon”.
Tough police action is timely, particularly during the festive season, when needless tragedies become an annual occurrence, potentially maiming or killing people who play with such explosives.
Every year, for the past 30 years, CAP has urged the Government to increase its enforcement of the firecracker ban. CAP has even called for the inclusion of explosive fireworks under the ban because of the obvious danger they pose.
Our calls, made in the interest of safety and health of Malaysians, appear to have fallen on deaf ears.
The affordable and easily obtainable firecrackers and fireworks today prove that the law is not effectively enforced and not being taken seriously by the offenders.
CAP’s survey on this issue has found that these contrabands are sold openly in areas such as Bayan Baru, Jelutong, Ayer Itam, Lip Sin, Sungai Dua, Pulau Tikus and Komtar. The price ranges from RM10 to RM40 per bundle of firecrackers and for some fireworks it can even be as high as RM100 to RM200. More shockingly is that some teenagers are also seen to be selling these contrabands.
It is also pertinent for the laws to be amended to include the following:
- A mandatory jail sentence for smugglers, including the confiscation of his or her property and assets;
- The vehicle in which the contraband is found should be confiscated and auctioned off.
Apart from being a nuisance to the public, these potential firebugs have also caused damage to life and property. Those children who lost their life or limbs because of a moment of “joyful” celebration should not be forgotten either because they have to live with it for the rest of their lives.
Therefore, CAP also welcomes the police’s promise to haul in the parents who buy or allow their children to play with firecrackers. They may have to serve a seven year prison term if convicted.
CAP finds the enforcement of existing Acts and Regulations as the problem, not that we lack such laws. Therefore, any desire to execute whatever is in our legislation is definitely a step forward in the right direction.
SM Mohd Idris is the President of Sahabat Alam Malaysia (SAM).
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