Comprehensive guidelines must be introduced with fireworks now allowed, says safety group

PETALING JAYA: With the government legalising firecrackers and fireworks in Malaysia, a safety group urges the authorities to introduce comprehensive safety guidelines for the public.

Alliance for a Safe Community chairman Tan Sri Lee Lam Thye called on the government to develop comprehensive guidelines for both the public and sellers to adhere to.

“The Home Ministry has been entrusted with the task of drawing up rules, regulations and guidelines as a prelude to legitimising the use of firecrackers.

“Hopefully, the new regulations will be ready before the Year of the Dragon in 2024,” he said.

Lee said the proposed lifting of the ban on firecrackers has fired up people on both sides of the divide.

He said those in support say that celebrations during Chinese New Year and other festivals will be more meaningful and lively.

He added that proponents feel that it will open the doors for more businesses, leading to more employment and revenue for the government.

"There will also be less smuggling and illegal trade," he added.

“Those who are unhappy say that more children will suffer injuries, that there could be more illegal factories, and that the loud crackers in the wee hours of the morning will continue to traumatise pets and cause inconveniences to some sections the population,” he said.

He gave an example of the inherent dangers, referring to the Bright Sparklers Fireworks factory fire in May 1991 when a massive explosion in the factory in Sungai Buloh killed 26 people and injured over a hundred others.

“But, there is a middle path that can, to a large extent, mollify one segment and assuage the other. And that path is one in which the legalisation of fireworks can be a win-win situation.

“That is when there are strict rules in place that will regulate all aspects of the manufacture, importation, storage, use, and disposal,” he added.

Lee stressed that the critical aspect was enforcement.

“Some maintain that the enforcement was lax to enable the public some leeway to let off steam and let their hair down and that, after two years of lockdown, it was a panacea,” he said.

He hoped that the new guidelines include the hours of the day or night when firecrackers are allowed to be let off, where these can be let off, such as common grounds, playing fields, and stadiums and restrictions on children, the old and the infirm.

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