Malaysian Civil Defence Force seriously understaffed

KUALA TERENGGANU, 13 Jan 2021:

The Public Service Department (PSD) has been urged to reconsider the request for additional manpower for the Malaysian Civil Defence Force (APM) to enable the agency to function better.

APM deputy chief commissioner (Operations) Norhafifi Ismail said the agency had submitted the application in 2015 but to date no decision has been made, though the agency has been tasked with additional assignments.

He said APM now has a staff strength of 1,265 – including 576 uniformed members – who are deployed in the event of disasters in the country.

“The additional staff is needed as APM’s role has expanded with the agency included in the Disaster Management Committee Secretariat and we need to train the public in awareness and preparedness for any kind of calamity

“APM is also involved in dealing with 999 emergency services which require us to take immediate action,” he told reporters after a working visit to the Terengganu State Disaster Operations Room, here today.

Norhafifi added that the limitations had caused the agency to rely on the over 4,000 APM volunteers – though it had to face criticism from the community who were dissatisfied with services rendered.

He said the community should not expect the volunteers to be adept in various tasks because they have other commitments as some have their day jobs and could only work for certain hours.

“Nevertheless I commend the volunteers, some of whom are nurses and private sector workers but at night they serve APM. They are committed and I am sure they have tried their best.”

Asked if the volunteers would be given priority if PSD agreed to the additional manpower, Norhafifi said it would depend on the individual’s academic qualifications – but they would definitely be at an advantage, as they have been in various situations and trained in disaster management.

– Bernama