We’re almost halfway through the holy month of Ramadan and most Muslims in Malaysia are now starting their preparations to celebrate Hari Raya Aidilfitri. Just like other festive celebrations in our country, the closer we are to the holiday season, the louder the sound of firecrackers and fireworks will be filling our nights.
Well, as per our previous insight, most firecrackers and fireworks are actually illegal in our country. In fact, should you be caught igniting unauthorised fireworks and firecrackers, you may face imprisonment of up to one month or a fine of up to RM100 or both. Moreover, an individual caught manufacturing, importing or even having in their possession illegal fireworks face even worse punishment: Up to 5-year jail or RM10,000 both or both!
However, there has been a new development since we published that article, whereby the Federal Government has taken an initiative to legalise the sale of firecrackers and fireworks in our country. As reported by FMT, the Minister of Local Government Development Nga Kor Ming announced that the legalisation of firecrackers and fireworks would start this month in a bid to end the smuggling of such products. Nga added that with the legalisation of the products, the government could collect “hundreds of millions of ringgit” in import duties.
That doesn’t mean that you’re free to purchase and light up any firecrackers and fireworks willy-nilly this Aidilfitri as there are still regulations and procedures in place. In other words, the government is not broadly legalising such products but is only regulating them.
So, what changes can we expect with this move by the Federal Government? Well, here’s everything you should know before you start lighting up the skies with fireworks this Hari Raya:
Most firecrackers and fireworks are still illegal
Despite the change in policy, the law regarding these products still remains the same. Specifically, fireworks are still considered as “explosives” under the Explosives Act 1957. Section 2 of the Act is as follows:
Hence, as we’ve alluded to earlier, manufacturing, importing or having in your possession fireworks or any of the explosives mentioned above are still punishable with imprisonment for a term of 5 years or a fine of RM10,000 or both. This is governed under Section 4(2) of the Act.
Moreover, the punishment is worse should the fireworks or explosives cause explosions that are “likely to endanger life or property”. Section 6 of the Explosives Act 1957 reads:
With that in mind, the Federal Government does allow for the ignition of a fireworks display or pyrotechnics during formal government events and concerts as well as events specially approved by the Ministry of Home Affairs (MOHA) and Internal Security. Furthermore, the Ministry’s approval is a policy decision and the application is under the orders of other agencies such as the Royal Malaysia Police (security), Fire Department (safety) and Public Aviation Department (air traffic) during ignition. The requirements for pyrotechnics are really stringent and the process of application can be found on MOHA’s official website here.
Firecrackers and fireworks authorised by MOHA
So, what types of products are allowed for your Hari Raya celebrations? According to the Local Government Development Minister, guidelines and regulations on the matter would be set by MOHA.
Accordingly, MOHA clarified through its official website that the only firecrackers and fireworks that are allowed to be ignited are from the brand Happy Boom and Pop-Pop. With the policy change, the two aforementioned brands are still the only products allowed, but they have been extended to 46 types of firecrackers and fireworks.
Besides that, as reported by Astro Awani, Home Minister Datuk Seri Saifuddin Nasution clarified that only 27 companies that comply with police guidelines and conditions have been given authorisation to import, store and sell these products. Saifuddin further stressed that online sales of firecrackers and fireworks are strictly prohibited, with authorised vendors only allowed to sell the products in places that are safe.
He added that the Customs Department will ensure that only companies that have the required permits import firecrackers and fireworks into Malaysia. Furthermore, MOHA and the police will conduct continuous monitoring to ensure only authorised vendors are allowed to sell the products, while local councils will ensure only sellers who have a sales permit sell them.
Therefore, if you’re planning to light up fireworks or firecrackers with your friends and family this upcoming Aidilfitri, do ensure that they are products authorised by MOHA and are purchased from authorised sellers. Remember, setting off banned fireworks is not only against the law but could endanger your safety and the ones around you.