Illegal fireworks still spark concerns

A trader selling fire crackers at a bazaar in Ipoh.

FIRECRACKERS and fireworks are banned but this does not stop defiant traders from selling them openly.

Checks conducted by StarMetro found that the banned items were still sold at night markets and Ramadan bazaars in Ipoh.

At the Taman Perpaduan bazaar, several children were seen selling firecrackers obliviously.

It was not known if they were hired to sell the firecrackers but when approached, the children only said, “Please buy these crackers for the festive season.”

Another trader seen selling fireworks, who only wanted to be known as Jin, said he had been selling them for quite a while and no one had questioned him for doing so.

However, if he saw any enforcement officers, he would display only the lighter sort of firecrackers such as Pop-pop and Mercun Bola.

“People buy from us and that is why we are selling them.

Children were also seen selling fireworks at the Taman Perpaduan bazaar. — Photos: RONNIE CHIN/The Star
Children were also seen selling fireworks at the Taman Perpaduan bazaar. — Photos: RONN IE CHIN /The Star

“We know it is banned but the demand is there,” he said when met.

Just as what he claimed, many people were seen thronging his stall to buy firecrackers.

A customer, who only wanted to be known as Ras, said he was hesitant to buy the firecrackers but gave in to his children’s demand.

“I know it is illegal but my kids love them, they want to have firecrackers for every Aidilfitri.

“I will always monitor them when playing.

“So far I have not seen authorities checking out these stalls, I guess we are safe for now,” he said.

Another parent who wanted to be known as Abu took a different stance, urging the authorities to be sterner when it came to the sale of these banned items.

He said he noticed that someone would surely be selling firecrackers and fireworks before Raya.

“At first, you will see them selling Pop-Pop and Mercun Bola but soon, they will turn bolder by bringing out other banned items.

“Authorities should be stern and I really hope that something can be done to stop this,” he said.

Meanwhile, authorities are certainly not resting on their laurels.

State Customs director Abdul Manan Muda said they would investigate the matter and hold operations to weed out these stalls.

“If it involves children, the police and state Welfare Department will step in. We will investigate the matter and do something about it,” he said, pledging to put a stop to the issue.

Perak police chief Commissioner Datuk Hasnan Hassan is warning individuals not to own, keep, use or sell firecrackers and fireworks except those allowed by the authorities.

Comm Hasnan said he instructed the police’s explosive licensing unit to strictly enforce the Explosives Rules Act.

“There are a few types of firecrackers allowed.

“If the traders want to sell these, they need to get the permit from us first.

“Any individual found violating the rule will be investigated under Rule 74 to 78 of the Explosives Rules Act 1923,” he said, adding that among the items allowed were the Pop-Pop and Happy Boom varieties.

“We will seize and arrest anyone found selling the items illegally,” he said, adding that the police would not hesitate to charge them under the Arms Act 1960.

Ipoh mayor Datuk Zamri said the city council had always advised organisers of Ramadan bazaars not to allow the sale of fireworks.

He said while the city council had authority over operating permits for the bazaars, it was the prerogative of the respective organisers to check what the traders were selling.

“We have always stressed that the sale of fireworks is not allowed and reminded the organisers not to allow that.

“Some of the traders are also a cunning lot. They will pack up whenever they see enforcement officers,” he said.

“We will take the necessary actions against the traders if they are found selling these,” he added.

The state Welfare Department could not be reached for comments on the matter.

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