Ban On Firecrackers — Is It On Or Off?

The Consumers’ Association of Penang urges the Customs Excise Department and the Police to intensify nationwide crackdown on the smuggling and sale of fireworks and firecrackers. If enforcement is beefed up, smuggling and selling of contraband can be curbed.

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, PulauTikus and Komtar. The price ranges from RM 10.00 to RM 40.00 per bundle of firecrackers and some fireworks even up to RM 100 to RM 200. More shockingly is that some teenagers are also seen to be selling these contrabands.

Under section 4(2) of the Explosives Act 1957, anyone found to be manufacturing, importing or in possession of firecrackers and fireworks can be jailed not less than five (5) years or fined RM 10,000 or both. 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.

Hence, the laws should be amended to also include the following:

1.      A mandatory jail sentence for smugglers including the confiscation of his or her property and assets;

2.      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. Have we forgotten past accidents involving children that have caused their limb, some cases even their lives?

Lately, it has also become a trend to be playing firecrackers and fireworks besides on main festive occasions such as during funeral procession, marriage and even birthday celebrations.

Hence, CAP calls for hefty fine and jail sentence to be imposed on people caught buying and playing with firecrackers and fireworks. Parents should also be held responsible if their children were caught buying and playing with these contrabands.

As the Chinese New Year draws close, CAP urges the authorities to take firm action against the offenders and frequent checks to ban these dangerous contrabands.

3 February 2016