KEPALA BATAS: The Government has banned Kong Ming lanterns because of the danger they pose to the public, including to aircraft taking off or landing at the country’s airports.
Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi said the country did not need the hot-air lanterns, which are lit and then allowed to fly with the wind.
“I have directed the police to meet with lantern makers and importers to inform them on the type of lanterns which are banned.
“We have only banned the Kong Ming lanterns, not other types of small lanterns including those which are carried by hand,” he told newsmen yesterday after attending a Hari Raya Aidiladha feast at Permatang Pak Elong.
Earlier, Abdullah who is Kepala Batas MP, visited five areas in his constituency to personally hand over 25 of the 57 heads of cattle he donated to mosque committees for sacrifice in conjunction with Aidiladha.
Abdullah said Penang Chief Minister Tan Sri Dr Koh Tsu Koon had written to him seeking permission to release Kong Ming lanterns at the Esplanade during Chap Goh Meh on Saturday.
“Dr Koh informed me the Esplanade is quite far from the Penang International Airport and the Department of Civil Aviation has said that it would be safe because the airport is more than 8km away.
“I am not so convinced about this because the lanterns can fly anywhere. As such, I have asked Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Norian Mai to discuss this with the Penang state government.
On the letting off of firecrackers, Abdullah urged the police to be more “active” in enforcing the ban.
In Penang, Dr Koh said the decision on the release of Kong Ming lanterns on Chap Goh Meh would be announced by Norian today.
He said that in response to the requests of various community leaders in the state, he had met up with Abdullah earlier to discuss the pros and cons of the release of the lanterns.
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