Charged up for safety

The recent incidents of phones and other gadgets exploding or electrocuting users should not be brushed off lightly. With more and more uncertified and potentially dangerous electronic items being sold openly, the Energy Commission is beefing up enforcement activities to ensure these products are taken off the market.

LAST month, 30-year-old Suhana Mohamad was electrocuted to death while talking on her mobile phone that was being charged at her home in Cheras, Kuala Lumpur.

That’s a scary thing to hear because we Malaysians love our phones – there are 1.4 mobile phones for every person in the country, with the number continuing to rise as technology becomes more and more a part of daily life.

But as more products come into the market, it is vital that Malaysians are smart about what they buy and how they use it.

In Suhana’s case, the charger that caught fire and led to her electrocution was not from the manufacturer that produced her phone, according to an initial investigation by the Energy Commission (Suruhanjaya Tenaga).

The incident sent shockwaves through the nation, galvanising the commission to begin inspecting premises selling mobile phone chargers.

“From the inspection, it was found that a significant number of chargers checked did not have a Certificate of Approval (CoA) and Sirim-ST label,” the commission reveals, referring to the Standards and Industrial Research Institute of Malaysia.

In a bid to prevent tragedies like Suhana’s and other recent incidents of phones and other gadgets exploding or electrocuting users, the commission will be intensifying its enforcement activities to weed out unsafe and uncertified mobile phone chargers and electronic equipment in the market.

Such efforts will include conducting more checks and raids to curb the manufacturing, importation and sale of equipment that has not been certified by the commission and Sirim. The commission will also embark on joint enforcement operations with the police, the Ministry of Domestic Trade, Co-operatives and Consumerism, Sirim, and related agencies.

“Other than that, we are also carrying out consumer awareness initiatives on the matter in print, electronic and social media,” the commission explains in an e-mail to Sunday Star.

It doesn’t help that uncertified mobile phone chargers are being sold openly to the public today, at prices as low as RM10.

After inspecting 157 premises, the commission found 653 adapters and charger units of various brands that do not have the Sirim-ST label.

“These premises were given a warning notice to withdraw, dispose of or return the unapproved chargers. If the notice is not complied with, the chargers will be confiscated and legal action will be taken by commission,” the commission’s e-mail says.


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