Legalisation of fireworks: Policy needs to be comprehensive – Fire Dept

04 Feb 2023 06:05pm
Fire and Rescue Department Director General, Datuk Seri Hamdan Wahid. BERNAMA FILE PIX
Fire and Rescue Department Director General, Datuk Seri Hamdan Wahid. BERNAMA FILE PIX

SHAH ALAM – Refine the policy and guidelines for the legalisation of fireworks and firecrackers to ensure that it is comprehensive.

Fire and Rescue Department Director-General Datuk Seri Hamdan Wahid, when asked about his thoughts on the legalisation of the explosive materials, said that whatever it was, the authorities responsible to legalise it should go through the policy in detail.

“It goes back to the authorities that approve the licence and also secondly those who operated the business, there will be a lot of measures that need to be taken,” he said.

When asked if legalisation of the fireworks and firecrackers could prompt to the reopening of such factories and if not monitored properly would lead to the incident of ‘Hiroshima of Sungai Buloh’ which killed 26 people in 1991, Hamdan said such an incident could be curbed with proper safety measures.

“Nevertheless, we still cannot predict whether the incident at Sungai Buloh 32 years ago will be repeated, but if the safety measures are taken immediately, I believe the accidents can be prevented,” he told Sinar Daily when contacted.

Despite being under the jurisdiction of the police and the Home Ministry, the Fire and Rescue Department was always the first responder when there were any distress calls made in connection with fireworks and firecrackers mishaps.

On Friday, it was reported that the Local Government Development Ministry (KPKT) announced that fireworks and firecrackers would be legalised but the ministry left it to the Home Ministry to refine the guidelines, which involved the license to sell firecrackers and fireworks.

KPKT Minister Nga Kor Ming reportedly said that his ministry also leaves it to the Finance Ministry to determine the amount of tax that must be paid by importers of firecrackers and fireworks.

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He said the activities of selling fireworks and firecrackers by wholesalers and importers, would be controlled by the government.

Earlier, Inspector General of Police Tan Sri Acryl Sani Abdullah Sani said the police would wait for the refinement of the policy and implementation from the ministry and refused to comment further.

At the moment, those nabbed over usage and possession of banned fireworks and firecrackers could be charged under the Explosives Act 1957.

For the record, the ‘Hiroshima of Sungai Buloh’ occurred on May 7, 1991 when a factory manager, also a Hong Kong chemist, was testing a new product inside the Bright Sparklers fireworks factory next to a new village in Sungai Buloh.

Things went south around 3.45pm when explosive chemicals from the experiment spilt, sparking off fires that rapidly spread to a nearby pile of large firecrackers, known as “bazookas”.

The fires were accompanied by a series of explosions that could be heard and felt as far as 10km away from the factory.

The blast, described as Malaysia’s version of the Hiroshima bombing, claimed 26 lives and injured 103 people.

The factory was razed to the ground and over 200 residential properties were also damaged.

Hamdan further said as the sale and usage of fireworks were under the police jurisdiction, the Fire and Rescue Department would cooperate when needed.