KUCHING: The state Civil Defence Force (APM) has signed more strategic partners to strengthen disaster management in Sarawak.
APM signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Sarawak Amateur Radio Emergency Services (Sares) yesterday to improve the VHF and HF radio communication network in the state.
At the same time, Sares signed an MoU with the Scouts Association of Malaysia (Sarawak branch) to support the State Disaster Management Committee’s communications structure, particular in rural areas. APM is the committee’s secretariat.
Signing for APM was director Mohtar Samat while Sares was represented by president Joseph Siong and Sarawak Scouts by its chief commissioner Sudaryo Osman.
The ceremony was witnessed by Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas, Local Government and Housing Minister Datuk Dr Sim Kui Hian, deputy state secretary Datuk Jaul Samion and state security unit director Datuk Dr Chai Khin Chung.
Uggah, who chairs the State Disaster Management Committee, said the MoU was in line with efforts to get everyone involved in being prepared for disasters.
“Our priority is to get as many people involved in disaster management in Sarawak, especially local communities and NGOs,” he said.
Mohtar said the MOU would further strengthen the collaboration between APM and Sares, dating back to 2013.
“The purpose of this MOU is to increase the State Disaster Management Committee’s capability in managing disasters, specifically in sharing and delivering information in rural and remote areas,” he added.
He noted that whenever disasters such as floods occurred, the main challenge faced by the committee was communication problems.
Under the MoU, APM will work with Sares and Sarawak Scouts to coordinate their assets and resources to overcome communication difficulties in rural areas.
The first step will be to provide VHF and HF radio coverage in strategic areas. Community emergency response teams (CERT) and selected local communities in disaster-prone areas will be trained in amateur radio operations so that they can report disaster situations quickly.
Sares has 280 licensed amateur radio operators statewide while Sarawak Scouts has 50 licensed operators and plans to increase the number.