Prominent journalist lights spark against legalising fireworks

Prominent journalist lights spark against legalising fireworks

Paul Tan urges others to write to their MPs to express displeasure

KUALA LUMPUR – The government’s decision to legalise fireworks has drawn brickbats from a consumer group, and now a social media user is going a step further in writing to his MP and getting other citizens to do the same.

Automotive journalist Paul Tan, who goes by the username @paultantk on Twitter, has written to his MP, Syahredzan Johan, of Bangi, and also provided a template which others can use to express their displeasure over the move to their MPs.

There are “zero benefits” to legalising fireworks, Tan told The Vibes on the cabinet decision, which was announced last week by Local Government Development Minister Nga Kor Ming.

It is also “moronic” and contradictory to the measures taken by other nations, he added.

He said that while the new government led by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim is still in its early days, he might consider withholding his vote from Pakatan Harapan (PH) in the upcoming state elections if the unity government’s policy changes negatively impact his life.

“So far, I have not seen any policy changes that affect my life positively. Instead, we have this moronic decision to legalise something bad that so many other countries are moving away from.

“If the way PH administers the country and the policies they implement continuously make my life harder than any other previous government, it is more likely that I would not vote for them in the next elections,” he said when contacted by The Vibes yesterday.

Tan’s template asserted that the decision to legalise fireworks “has the potential to bring a number of negative consequences, including noise pollution, risks of injury to humans, fire risks, environmental harm and proliferation of waste.”

It also highlighted the Bright Sparklers Fireworks tragedy, referred to by some as the “Hiroshima of Sg Buloh”, in which a huge explosion from the fireworks factory killed 26 people and injured over a hundred others in 1991.

“The incident highlights the dangers posed by fireworks. Fireworks are simply too dangerous to be something we use for recreation,” the template said.

It also claimed that Nga’s assertion that the move “has fulfilled the wishes of the Chinese community” fails to consider the reason why fireworks have been banned all this while.

“I am concerned that this decision may set a precedent for the legalisation of other potentially harmful items that are currently illegal, due to the demands of certain communities.

“This raises the question of what other dangerous items may be legalised in the future. Will recreational hard drugs be next?”

Suggesting that the government explore alternative ways to celebrate special occasions such as community gatherings, the template called on MPs to raise the issue with relevant parties “whenever possible”.

Responding to Tan’s tweet, several users expressed their support for his stance while others said there could be benefits to legalising fireworks.

For user @NgSengWah, legalising fireworks is a step in the right direction as the ban has not proven fruitful.

“I hate air and sound pollution from fireworks. It has been banned all these years, yet because of weak enforcement and rampant corruption, one can easily get it (fireworks) and it can be sold openly,” he said.

He added that the move could give the government better control by reducing corrupt smuggling practices while enabling tax collection from authorised wholesalers or importers.

His view was echoed by user @zongtwi, who said that legalisation will ensure that the supply chain is out in the open, thus allowing authorities to exercise the necessary control over supply licenses.

On the flip side, user @anotherkuudere opined that there is “no point” in legalising fireworks now, suggesting instead that the government be stricter on the enforcement of the ban.

The Malaysia Consumers’ Movement has disagreed with the cabinet’s move, calling it a baffling decision.

The group’s deputy president Beninder Singh questioned Putrajaya’s priorities in increasing tax revenue from the sales of fireworks at the cost of public safety.

When announcing the move, Nga said that the Home Ministry would be drawing up regulations on licensing the import and sales of fireworks and firecrackers.

Despite the ban, these items are still set off during festive seasons, whether Chinese New Year, Hari Raya or Deepavali.

source – thevibes

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