THE Civil Defence Department in Sarawak will get a new headquarters and permanent training centre in Petra Jaya, Kuching, next year.
Civil Defence director-general Lt Jen Datuk Jamel Ariffin said the state had allocated a 4ha site for the department and construction of the RM10mil project would begin under the Ninth Malaysia Plan.
“We hope it will be completed by the end of next year and begin operations by early 2007,” he said after launching the state-level 53rd Civil Defence Day at the Kuching Waterfront recently.
It will be the department’s fifth training centre in addition those in Butterworth, Baling, Bangi and Jengka in Peninsula Malaysia.
The new training centre will cater to civil defence members in Sarawak, Sabah and Labuan in the short term.
“In the long-term, each state will have its own training centre, but our first move is to concentrate on Sarawak since the state has already allocated a piece of land,” Lt Jen Jamel said.
He also said the department planned to increase its personnel to 150,000 nationwide comprising voluntary and permanent staff under the Ninth Malaysia Plan.
Currently, the voluntary force comprises 43,000 members managed by 500 permanent staff.
In Sarawak, the department has 3,000 members.
“We want to take in at least another 1,000 members in Kuching, Miri and Sibu to beef up our strength,” Lt Jen Jamal said.
Earlier, he presented awards and certificates to several state Civil Defence members in recognition of their long service.
A group Civil Defence members then gave a demonstration of a maritime search-and-rescue operation on Sarawak River.