Hisham: Earthquake-damaged barracks will be fixed

KOTA KINABALU: Royal Malaysian Navy barracks damaged by earthquakes hitting the state will be fixed, says Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Tun Hussein.

The Defence Minister said he would work with Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Datuk Seri Abdul Rahman Dahlan to raise at least RM5mil to refurbish the buildings.

Sabah was hit by a 6.0-magnitude earthquake on June 5, 2015, which shook Mount Kinabalu and killed 18 people.

Last Thursday, a 5.0-magnitude earthquake struck Ranau, with tremors felt as far as Kota Kinabalu, more than 100km away.

Hishammuddin said the Defence Ministry had no other agenda in generating the funds other than to repair and maintain the living quarters.

"We offer help even when no one asks for it. I am not trying to get anything from this. That has never been my intention," he said at the Sepanggar naval base, here on Monday (March 12).

Hishammuddin said the Ministry would be launching a housing agenda soon, aimed at providing affordable homes for Malaysian Armed Forces personnel and veterans nationwide.

"Having a home is very important. They would not be able to go to the front lines if they are worried about the welfare of the families left behind," he said.

He added that this was especially hard for Navy personnel who have to leave their families for long periods of time.

"The Ministry need to assess the needs of our personnel on the ground," he said.

Hishammuddin met with Navy personnel after officiating the opening of a petrol kiosk at the base and visiting the construction site of a new bridge at Kampung Gentisan.

Also present at the event was Eastern Fleet commander Vice-Admiral Datuk Syed Zahiruddin Putra Syed Osman and Armed Forces chief Jen Tan Sri Raja Mohamed Affandi Raja Mohamed Noor.