Crime Law Lifestyle

5 things our Bomba can legally do… including making arrests.

Firefighters do a lot in Malaysia, and it isn’t necessarily just to fight fires. Whether it’s to save ‘oyen’ from a drain, chase a wild boar running… wild, or to cut someone’s kukubird ring off, our bomba and penyelamat squads are there to help in almost any given situation. Besides firefighting, their jobs also revolve around humanitarian services and protecting lives & property, whether it’s fire-related or non-fire related.

And while most Malaysians would often expect an ambulance or police squad car being sent in an emergency, it’s usually a big and red fire-engine that pulls up to the scene. This is because in most situations, especially ones where rescue is needed, our Fire and Rescue Department is the one with all the tools and the training; which means that they would be responsible for managing the situation and have more legal authority than we think! 

So, as we delve deeper into the legal mumbo-jumbo of it, let us also spice up the article with some ✨informative imagery✨ to help you understand our points better…


1. They technically don’t need a warrant to break into your house.

Unedited image from Lowyat.

From what most of us know about the police and their jurisdictions, it’s pretty common knowledge that in most cases, the police can only search private premises with a proper search warrant, which would then require reasonable proof to be submitted to the court that there is suspicion of crime. (Our friends over at AskLegal covered this in detail, so you should check out their article here.)

In contrast, the bomba squads do not require any warrants to enter your home. It would just need to be on fire. We’ll give you guys a scenario to help y’all picture this better:

A fire breaks out in someone’s house, and in order to put out the fire, the Bomba needs to enter the premises immediately. But if they had to obtain a warrant beforehand, the people and property inside the house would most likely have been burnt to a crisp because of how much time it’d take to get approval.

As a result, according to the Akta Bomba 1988, fire officers are allowed to enter or break into any place in order to rescue any person or thing. So, when it comes down to putting out fires, or even non-fire situations like saving someone who’s about to put an end to their lives, the fire and rescue department would be legally allowed to break into a home, but only if it is believed that there is a risk of danger to any person or property.


2. They can rampas your stuff/close your property if it’s a fire hazard.

Unedited image from Lowyat.

Police seizure is a thing. It’s such a thing, in fact, that our PDRM sometimes holds auctions to sell off the things they’ve taken.

But while the police would yet again require a warrant to seize goods or property, the bomba would be able to take away your stuff or even close your whole property if they determine it as a fire-hazard.

As each premise would need to comply to the fire safety regulations outlined in the Akta Bomba 1988, if someone were found to have some form of fire-hazard within their home or workplace, the bomba will be allowed to remove/dispose/sell off the object that’s deemed a fire-hazard, or apply for a closing order for the place. This means that the premise would be then deemed ‘unfit’ for humans to reside in, until the fire-hazard has then been removed.

And if you’re thinking that the closing order isn’t a serious matter, think again. The punishment for flouting the closing order would be a fine not exceeding five thousand ringgit, imprisonment for no longer than three years, or both– in addition to an additional fine of one hundred ringgit for each continued day of offence.

So if you haven’t, maybe you should keep an eye out for any potential fire-hazards in your home. It’s for your own safety, after all.

[Update] OMG these pictures of a Bomba guy and his pet snake "wife" are super adorbs


3. They have the power to arrest someone without a warrant and interrogate witnesses.

Unedited image from Lowyat.

Wait hold up- Firefighters… can arrest people?!

Yep! If you thought that the police at the scene of an emergency would be the ones doing the arresting, think again. 

Apparently, an authorized fire officer can arrest someone without a warrant if they’re found flouting the closing order or committing any other offence listed under the Akta Bomba 1988, where the arresting officer will comply to the Criminal Procedure Code (Section 28) as if they were a police officer.

So, in order to find out whether a person was indeed guilty of committing an offence listed under the Act, an authorized officer also has the power to investigate the matter by looking for witnesses and “examining” them (which we personally think is just a friendly way of saying interrogation). The witnesses would then also be legally obligated to provide the officer with truthful information or risk being exposed to a criminal charge as well.

We’re wondering why there hasn’t been any Firefighting crime shows on TV yet, hmm.. 🤔


4. Firefighters can “remove” someone if they interfere with their work.

Unedited image from Lowyat.

When trying to save someone from a burning building, the last thing that a firefighter would need is someone who gets in the way of the rescue. Besides being time-sensitive and intense, rescuing someone is a really dangerous task, and someone interfering in the situation could end up being seriously harmful for both the person and the firefighters themselves.

Therefore, fire officers are also given the jurisdiction to remove anyone who they believe to be interfering through their actions or even if it’s just by being there. And though it isn’t outlined exactly how they would remove these people, it’s safe to say that it might probably be a little something like this:

someone in your way? just pick them up and throw them out. #cili-advice. GIF from Giphy.


5. They can destroy property if it means saving your life.

Unedited image from Lowyat.

Now before you start worrying about firefighters going all “rage mode” on your furniture, it’s important to note that the fire officers would only demolish items if it was getting in the way of their work. For example, if someone was stuck in the bathroom and couldn’t get out, they might end up breaking down the entire door or basically use any means necessary to get the person out of there. Oh! and this applies to everything, btw. Whether it’s a lock, a door, a whole house, or even your car that’s blocking the water source!

So, in the event that something gets destroyed, or if there’s some form of damage to the property (walls that were busted down, broken doors, etc.), the firefighters who had caused the damage would not be held liable for any of it, as they have to prioritize saving lives over everything else.

Fortunately though, any damage that occurs this way would be counted as “loss by fire“, so you can still use it to claim your fire insurance. 😉


Criminals can get scared, but fire knows no fear.

Unedited image from The Star.

Here’s the thing:

Firefighters aren’t dealing with human beings, who can be physically apprehended and controlled. They’re dealing with live flames, which can’t listen to reason nor be controlled. Their rescue missions are intense, risky, and they’re often racing against time; so, they often have to take any measures necessary to save a person which could end up resulting in a ton of damage.

And if there were barely any laws in place to disclaim the liability of firefighters when rescuing someone, they’d probably end up spending more time trying not to break anything than saving the person from their untimely demise.

So, at the end of the day, the reason these laws exist aren’t just to protect the firefighters themselves, but for the benefit of civilians as well!

…Just like how we included the imagery in this article for both our benefit and yours. 🤤


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