Consumers’ Association of Penang has been reminding various relevant authorities about the violations of the Explosives Act for more than two decades but these calls have fallen on deaf ears. As over the weekend we were a laughing stock when banned firecrackers and fireworks were let off freely without an ounce of fear of breaking the law.
The relevant authorities are pussy footing around the issue without a political will to enforce the Act but having a knee-jerk reaction when an incident occurs. If the authorities are willing to wield the full weight of the law to hammer out this menace then it would not have sustained the business of selling firecrackers/fireworks.
It would not make business sense if the importer, the warehouse owner, retailer, and the person who are caught in possession of these explosives to receive maximum sentence allowed. In fact, the law should be amended to have the properties of those involved in the trade confiscated as well.
Obviously firecrackers/fireworks are not only sold behind counters or in back lanes when six stalls openly selling them along Jalan Mergastua were engulfed in flames on 17 February 2018. It resulted in the destruction of a Toyota Vios and a motorcycle, and partial damage to a Honda City.
Twenty-six persons were injured when fire crackers were let off during a Thaipusam celebration in Sungai Petani on 2 February 2018. Four persons were charged but the Consumers’ Association of Penang (CAP) is also keen to know where the culprits sourced their fire crackers. Why must the investigation end with these four persons? The supplier is also guilty for importing without a license, storing, and selling these explosive items.
These are for the start of an ‘auspicious’ 2018.
We seriously urge that if the authorities are not keen/capable in enforcing the law, then they might as well lift the ban on firecrackers/fireworks entirely. It may not look as bad as having a plethora of laws and regulations that are left poorly enforced and make a mockery of the laws of the country.
PRESS STATEMENT, 19 February 2018