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‘High time to restructure JPAM as frontliners’

on 02 February 2015.

‘High time to restructure JPAM as frontliners’

BP15013106
Prof Fadzil (centre) flanked by Wahab (left) and Mokhtar during a media conference after the closing ceremony yesterday.

KOTA SAMARAHAN: It is high time for the government to seriously consider restructuring its Civil Defence Department (JPAM) to become frontliners with more professionals.

Universiti Malaysia Sarawak (Unimas) deputy vice-chancellor Prof Mohd Fadzil Abdul Rahman said in view of the more challenging roles the department had to play today, surely it could not afford to rely heavily on volunteers alone.

“I am not in the position to make any comment about this because I am just a member of JPAM by federation, but even then I think there’s nothing wrong for me to make suggestions that can help make things better,” he said.

Prof Fadzil, who is also Unimas Students’ Civil Defence Corp commandant, said this when closing the instructor methodology course at Unimas campus near here yesterday.

A total of 107 students, including only 15 males, took part in the training from Jan 18 until yesterday.

He said that the recent major floods that badly hit eastern states of Peninsular Malaysia should be a lesson to learn from.

“I saw the aftermath of the floods with my own eyes and I can imagine how bad the situation was during that time which could only be handled by professionals.

“I am not saying that volunteers are not good but the problem was the ratio between regular staff and volunteers was too big so if possible the government should narrow the gap, say, to a ratio of 60:40,” he said.

He added that in view of the different nature of disasters it was time the government look into this seriously so that the department can be at the frontline and not as second or third liner like presently.

Meanwhile, State JPAM director Col (PA) Mokhtar Samat supports the suggestion since Sarawak has only 42 regular staff.

“At the moment we have only 42 regular staff compared with 40,000 volunteers throughout the state, out of which 20,000 are trained.

“So the gap is very huge and if possible we want to close or at least narrow the gap,” he asserted.

He disclosed that they had proposed to the higher authority for consideration.

“Of course we hope the government can increase the number of posts and personnel and also to better equipped the department in terms of logistic and equipment,” he said.

According to Mokhtar, the department is currently under equipped and could do better if they have all the necessary equipment especially for search and rescue missions.

Deputy Home Minister Datuk Dr Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar had acknowledged this matter and as such Mokhtar was confident that he would bring the issues to the higher authority.

Also present at the ceremony was Civil Defence Training Academy commandant Col (PA) Abdul Wahab Rahim.

Source: The Borneo Post

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