Waiting for fireworks guidelines

KUALA LUMPUR: Bukit Aman will wait for the Home Ministry’s policy regarding the legalisation of firecrackers and fireworks, says Tan Sri Acryl Sani Abdullah Sani.

The Inspector-General of Police said the police are ready to abide by the guidelines that will be introduced by the ministry.

“I was just informed on the matter and we will wait for the policy,” he told reporters after attending the Hiking with the Police Programme at Built Kiara Federal Park here yesterday.

He was commenting on reports that the Home Ministry has been tasked with coming up with regulations to license the import and sales of firecrackers and fireworks, following the Cabinet’s decision to legalise their use.

Local Government Development Minister Nga Kor Ming said the Finance Ministry would also be involved to determine duty to be imposed on these items.

He had said while the Cabinet had agreed to legalise the lighting up of firecrackers and fireworks, this was subject to approval by the authorities such as import licences and duties to be paid.

Nga also said the control and licensing would be imposed at the source such as importers and wholesalers.

Consumers will not be required to get permission to use firecrackers and fireworks.

Nga said that legalising firecrackers and fireworks will bring benefits to the country, including increasing revenue and improving safety.

Meanwhile, safety advocates are calling on the government not to loosen safety requirements, even as it looks forward to legalising the importation, sale, and usage of fireworks.

Alliance For A Safe Community Chairman Tan Sri Lee Lam Thye called on the government to develop comprehensive public and seller adherence guidelines.

“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, with one side happy as they can openly use firecrackers to enliven celebrations.

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

If Malaysia chooses to manufacture fireworks, then there are also inherent dangers, with Lee reminding the people of the incident involving Bright Sparklers Fireworks in May 1991, when a massive explosion of the fireworks factory in Sungai Buloh killed 26 people and injured more than a hundred others.

“But, there is a middle path that can, to a large extent, mollify most. 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 to regulate all aspects of the manufacturing, importation, storage, use, and disposal,” he said, adding that the critical aspect is enforcement.

Lee hoped that the new guidelines include having prescribed hours when firecrackers are allowed to be let off, as well as definition on the locations where fireworks could be used, along with restrictions on minimum age and so on.

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