RECENT media reports of injuries sustained by a few children playing with firecrackers suggest the level of awareness of the danger posed by firecrackers is still very low.
Since the beginning of Ramadan this year, there’s been four of such cases. Two of them occurred in Kelantan and the other two were in Terengganu.
The latest concern, however, is the danger it can pose to innocent parties. Recently, Abdul Azim Mohamad, 29, injured his left thumb and index finger while trying to remove a firecracker that was believed to have been thrown into the front basket of his motorcycle by some mischievous children. In the 3pm incident at Kampung Simpangan, Tumpat, the victim was heading towards the Pengkalan Kubor Duty Free Area on his Yamaha 125 when a firecracker that landed in his basket exploded as he tried to remove it.
Enforcement authorities and parents must take the matter seriously. Authorities should act more firmly to curb the manufacture of homemade firecrackers and eradicate the sale of explosive substances. There should be strict enforcement against the illegal importation
and sale of firecrackers. Malaysia has enacted many laws concerning the sale and use of
> Section 4(2) of the Explosives Act 1957 states that any person manufacturing, possessing or importing any explosive in contravention of a notification issued under this section is liable to jail for five years, or a fine of RM10,000, or both;
> Section 135 of the Customs Act 1967 criminalises the smuggling of uncustomed goods or any prohibited goods like firecrackers. Anyone who knowingly harbours, keeps, conceals, or is in possession of, or permits, suffers, causes or procures to be harboured, kept or concealed, any uncustomed or prohibited goods shall be guilty of an offence and shall, on conviction be liable for the first offence to a fine of not less than 10 times the amount of the customs duty or RM50,000, whichever is the lesser amount, and of not more than 20 times the amount of the customs duty or RM100,000, whichever is the greater amount, or jailed for a term not exceeding three years or both; and
> Anyone playing with firecrackers or fireworks except in accordance with the terms of an order or licence issued, may be charged under Section 3 (5) of the Minor Offences Act 1955 which provides for a jail sentence of not more than one month or a fine of up to RM100 or both if found guilty.
It’s important to note that parents or guardians who are found to be negligent in the safety of the children under their care can also be subjected to a heavy penalty under the Child Act 2001.
In conjunction with the coming festive season, the authorities should press hard with its ops to wipe out the sale of illegal firecrackers, that is also taking place on social media. The local community should also play a role in advising neighbourhood children to stay away from such dangerous activities.
DR MUZAFFAR SYAH MALLOW
Faculty of Syariah & Law,
Universiti Sains Islam Malaysia