Like electricity, cooking gas or Liquified Petroleum Gas (LPG) should be considered a dangerous utility that needs to be treated with maximum caution. The government should treat this matter with utmost urgency and ensure that all gas cylinders and accessories sold are certified safe and consumers are provided safety education which is currently absent.
Safety at the bottling plant, as well as during distribution and use by consumers should never be compromised at anytime. In Malaysia gas leaks causing explosions have resulted in numerous injuries and deaths over the years.
What are the responsibilities for distributors and retailers of cooking gas sold in cylinders or bottled gas as known in the industry? Who is responsible to ensure that cylinders supplied to consumers are safe and not leaking? Which is the regulating body?
It is also not clear which is the agency responsible for testing the cylinders periodically and certify them as safe. What is the life span of a cylinder and the valve? What is the recommended life span of a regulator set? The expiry date of these items should be embossed on the items.
There are so many questions that demand answers. And the big question is what consumers should do in the event of an emergency such as a gas leak or explosion?
The leak can occur at the cylinder valve or in the connecting rubber hose or at the oven valve. Each type of leak needs to be treated differently. The only information that is available is a cautionary statement on a small round card attached to the cylinder head which is of no practical help.
Cooking gas has been in widespread use by consumers in Malaysia for more than 50 years and this is all the education that consumers get. Almost every household has one or two cylinders in the kitchen. Are consumers expected to learn from trial and error? Gas is one utility where we cannot afford to make any mistakes.
CAP had a hard time trying to gather information on regulatory and safety matters related to gas cylinders and accessories. There are many government agencies linked to the gas industry in Malaysia but no single agency is in a position to provide complete and intelligible information. Everything is so shady.
CAP calls on the relevant authorities to take the following measures without further delay:
1. Provide safety procedures on cooking gas use and during emergencies. Such information should be made freely available to the public through various means, including briefings at all community centers;
2. Make it mandatory for cylinders to carry the expiry date of the cylinder, valve, hose and regulator. Ensure that all parts including the rubber O-ring conform to Standards;
3. Establish an agency for testing the cylinder and other items;
4. Establish a regulator for the industry.
Press Statement – 20 February 2014