Saturday, 7 January 2017

Stop making excuses

January 7, 2017

KUCHING: The authorities must stop giving flimsy excuses when it comes to enforcing the Second-Hand Dealers Act 1946.

Assistant Minister for Housing Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah said enforcement of the Act, which was extended to the state in 2014, had been weak resulting in metal thefts being committed almost with impunity.

“Before the Second-Hand Dealers Act was extended to Sarawak, the reason given by the police for rampant theft of cables, metal, house grilles, and manhole covers was because they could not act much since the Act was not extended.

“I had my reservations then because I’ve all along believed that this problem is related to enforcement and commitment of the parties in this business in wanting to eradicate this menace,” he said when contacted yesterday.

Karim said as long as there are buyers of scrap metal, such thefts would still continue.

“Even without the Act, if one is caught with cables which are prescribed for Sesco or manholes with DBKU (Kuching North City Commission) or MBKS (Kuching South City Council) logos, I strongly believe they can be charged under the Penal Code for retaining stolen property.

“No scrap metal buyers will dare keep these items and after a while all these scrap metal buyers will close shop because nobody is selling to them. If nobody buys scrap metal, there will be no more theft,” he said.
He opined that the people should question why places such as Pontianak did not face problems with cable theft or stolen metal items.

“The law prohibits this business. In Malaysia or Sarawak, if we want to keep this business going, make sure the enforcement agencies whether the police or local councils, are on their toes and do not collaborate with the scrap metal agents or buyers. Our enforcement is weak and this allows the menace to flourish,” he explained.

On the police’s response that the law could not be fully extended until all second-hand dealers obtained a police license Karim replied, “That’s a good excuse by the police.”

“How many years do they need to register those dealers? There are not many of them. Give a timeline and if not registered, take action against them.”

He said local authorities that issue permits to second-hand dealers should also buck up.

“If DBKU or MBKS manhole covers or Sesco cables are found in these dealers’ shops, they are seen as an accomplice to such a criminal act,” he said.

Karim said local authorities should not allow dealers who openly commit a crimes to continue operating and called on them to work together with the police. -The Borneo Post

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