PUTRAJAYA – Disaster preparedness and management will continue to be top priorities of the Malaysian Government, says Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Dr Shahidan Kassim.
He said the government was upgrading its capability in search and rescue, and dealing with public safety issues especially during major disasters.
“This is also important as ASEAN countries had demonstrated the ASEAN unity by working as a team with the ASEAN Coordinating Centre for Humanitarian Assistance on Disaster Management (AHA Centre), playing its role in coordinating the humanitarian efforts in a fast and efficient way.
“This signifies the collective strength of ASEAN when responding to a disaster. I hope such collaboration can be extended to include other regions as well,” he said in his welcoming remarks at the International Search and Rescue Advisory Group (Insarag) Asia Pacific Regional Meeting here today.
His speech was read out by National Disaster Management Agency (Nadma) Director-General Datuk Abdul Rashid Harun.
Shahidan said the Malaysian Special Disaster Assistance and Rescue Team (Smart) was actively involved in many humanitarian aid missions worldwide, for instance in China, Pakistan, the Philippines, Indonesia and Nepal.
Due to its active participation, Malaysia was offered to be the Insarag Asia-Pacific Regional Chair for 2017 and agreed to host the Insarag Asia Pacific Regional Earthquake Response Exercise 2017, beginning today until Wednesday in conjunction with the meeting.
The exercise involves 400 participants from 32 countries in ASEAN and the Asia Pacific represented by agencies from urban search and rescue team, civil defence, fire services, medical team and other various agencies.
Nadma, in its statement said this exercise was an avenue for sharing of experiences as well as exchanging of ideas in emergency services and public safety. – BERNAMA