KUALA LUMPUR: Only enforcement officers dealing with video compact disc piracy will be issued with firearms, said Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin.
He added that his ministry had been given permission earlier to have firearms, whereby a few senior officers were issued permits to handle guns.
“The ministry already had an allocation for the purchase of firearms previously, but it was not used because the situation was different then.
“The situation has changed now because enforcement teams that tried to seize illegal VCDs have been threatened with physical harm. Some senior officers have been tailed home by people believed to be illegal VCD traders or their agents,” said Muhyiddin, adding that the ministry had more than 800 people specially responsible for dealing with VCD piracy nationwide and all of them would be issued with firearms in stages after undergoing training and instruction from the police.
“The ministry cannot be selective in issuing guns to only some officers. However, they don’t have to bring their guns during normal operations like when conducting price checks.
“The Home Ministry can revoke the permits or seize the guns if the officers misuse their weapons or are negligent,” Muhyiddin said after launching a book entitled Beyond Consumer Culture: Other Possibilities, Potentials and Practices by the Consumers Association of Penang (CAP) at the Malaysian Tourism Centre here yesterday.
Among those who attended was CAP president S.M. Mohamed Idris.
Muhyiddin said administrative details such the types of guns required and the procedures for handling the weapons would be studied.
“Enforcement officers dealing with VCD piracy may not have to hand back their guns to their departments after conducting operations.
“Maybe they could keep the guns with them all the time,” he added.
Muhyiddin also said the Cabinet had directed the ministry to reintroduce a fair-price scheme for traders who had faithfully adhered to good business practices and fair pricing.
“The scheme was dropped several years ago because there were traders who did not adhere to the fair-pricing criteria.
“A committee will now be formed to study shops which had carried out fair pricing schemes. Accreditation certificates will be issued to them and their names will be printed in government or tourism brochures to help them promote their goods,” he added.
He said constant checks would be made to ensure traders practised fair pricing.