CYBERJAYA, 2 Aug 2016:
In April, a woman was electrocuted while talking on the phone connected to her smartphone charger. It was later found that the current has leaked through the faulty charger head.
In a statement few days later, Domestic Trade, Cooperatives, and Consumerism Minister Datuk Seri Hamzah Zainuddin advised the public to avoid purchasing smartphone chargers without approval label issued by MCMC and Sirim.
What’s especially worrying is almost 40% of handphones, fax machines and walkie-talkies sold in the market are without MCMC label, said Abdul Karim Abdul Razak, Head of Department of Standards Development, Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC).
According to Regulation 14 of Communications and Multimedia (Technical Standards) Regulations (2000) ‘All communication equipment which are required to be certified under this regulation shall be so certified’.
“Equipment that fall under this regulation are all equipment or devices that work with frequencies such as mobile phones, radio, tvs, laptops, tablets, telephones, fax machines, walkie-talkies, satellite tv receiver and such.”
The MCMC verification label, commonly known as ‘Sirim sticker’ among the public is a method introduced to ensure that consumers buy devices or gadgets that comply with the safety standards.
“The public need to know that it is actually MCMC that issued the certification mark label. Sirim QAS International (Sirim) is the certifying body appointed by MCMC for the purpose of certifying compliance with codes and standards issued by MCMC,” explained Abdul Karim.
This has been practiced over the past 10 years.
In addition, Sirim is also the Permit Issuing Agency appointed by the Royal Malaysian Customs for the purpose of issuing import permit for all the communications equipment.
The smart partnership allows the government to control the approval of devices to be imported in, and at the same time control the number of units to be brought in.
There are three aspects that come into MCMC’s consideration in approving any devices.
The first part is indeed the safety of the product. First, its Specific Absorption Rate -that is the radio frequency admission into users’ head must not exceed specified limit.
Second, its Electromagnetic Compatibility to ensure that the devices certified are safe from unwanted effects such as electromagnetic interference.
The second element considered in the certification process is the interoperability. Simply said, it is the ability of the device to inter-operate with the public networks. Surely we do not want a smartphone that can’t hook to any mobile operators, right?
The last element is the radio frequency used by the device, so that it complies with the country’s regulation.
In the efforts to raise awareness to the public, ‘Check Your Label’ campaign was launched to educate consumers on the importance of buying communication devices with valid MCMC label.
This is also important for users so they will be able to self-verify the validity of MCMC label on their communication devices.
“This is a nation-wide effort. We are targeting the mass public who are the final users of these devices. We have set a comprehensive ecosystem to ensure our message reaches the people,” said Abdul Karim.
From roadside billboards to road tours, exhibition and the use of mass media, MCMC spreads the news telling the public that there are various ways to check certification label and that they should avoid from becoming the victim of irresponsible sellers.
Despite all the efforts to ensure consumers’ interests are protected, especially on safety, it is the consumer who will finally decide on their purchases.
Taking the issue lightly, users are actually exposing themselves to unnecessary harm such as electric shock, fire hazard, electromagnetic radiation, device interference and the risk of purchasing fake or illegal device.
“What we observe is the overall impact on the consumer. If there are those interested in cheap products without MCMC’s endorsement, you are sacrificing your life just to save few hundreds of ringgit.”
“What we fear is that in the event something bad happens. No use of regretting then.”
Abdul Karim said MCMC also encourages the public to lodge report on sellers selling counterfeit devices.
How to verify safety of device
Step one is to identify the certification label itself. One needs to understand that there are two types of label. They are the physical label type and the e-label type.
Physical labels can easily be seen on the device itself. It is a normal sticker or hologram sticker pasted on the device such as inside the battery compartment, at the back of device, sometimes on the warranty card and anywhere else where it is proper.
Since June 2015 MCMC has introduced the e-label, where it is stored inside the operating system of firmware of the device itself. This mainly used for smartphones, to adapt with the industry’s latest trend and designs.
Users can seek for the label under ‘regulatory information’ function, a sub-function under ‘settings’ function.
On both physical label there’ll be serial number while for e-label, there’ll be manufacturer or supplier number.
Upon obtaining any of the above numbers, step two is to verify those numbers with MCMC database via website https://ecomm.sirim.my or smartphone application ‘Check Your Label’.
This application is available on both Google play store for Android users and for Apple users, it is in the App Store.