Firecrackers – Deterrent Sentences Needed

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 of contraband can be curbed.

For more than two decades, CAP has been calling on the authorities to impose heavier penalties on offenders including jail sentences.

The ever increasing incidences of smuggling, distribution and the sale of firecrackers and fireworks can only be stopped through strict enforcement and with the cooperation from the public to refrain from buying contraband. Under section 4(2) of the Explosives Act 1957, anyone found to be manufacturing, in possession or importing firecrackers and fireworks can be jailed not less than five (5) years or fined RM10,000 or both.

The violation of the existing laws to curb the blatant smuggling, distribution and sale of the contraband is obviously not 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.

The peoples’ brave, open and free indulgence in playing with firecrackers and dangerous fireworks also goes to show that the police are unable to stop them. Firm action should also be taken against people caught playing with the firecrackers and fireworks. Hefty fine and jail sentences should be imposed on retailers and people caught playing with firecrackers and fireworks. Parents whose children are caught buying and playing with firecrackers and fireworks must be made responsible for their children’s acts.

Firecrackers and fireworks apart from being a great nuisance to the public are potential fire-bugs. Children in particular are vulnerable to injury. Lighted firecrackers and fireworks have also caused damage to life and property.

Of late, people have been playing with  firecrackers not only during the main festival day but also during funeral procession, wedding and birthday celebrations. Only if strict enforcement is beefed-up can the smuggling and sale of such contraband be curbed.

As the Chinese New Year  festival draws close, CAP calls for frequent and stringent enforcement.


Press Statement, 22  January 2020