PUTRAJAYA: The Special Malaysian Disaster Assistance and Rescue Team (SMART) will become a mentor to the Brunei rescue team, which wishes to get recognition from the International Search and Rescue Advisory Group, says Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail.
The Deputy Prime Minister said SMART received the recognition in 2016.
Dr Wan Azizah said the recognition enabled the search and rescue team to assist in rescue missions abroad.
“Currently, Malaysia and Brunei are having talks to establish a memorandum of understanding on the matter, which was discussed during my official visit to the country in February,” she said when visiting the SMART headquarters in Pulau Meranti, Puchong, yesterday.
SMART, which was set up in 1997, has assisted Indonesia, Turkey, India, Pakistan, the Philippines, Ukraine and Nepal in various search and rescue operations, as well as humanitarian missions.
Dr Wan Azizah described SMART personnel as Malaysia’s unsung heroes, saying their role was to save lives and that their status was world-class.
“We cannot forget SMART’s role during the tropical storm Greg, which hit Sabah in 1994, the Mount Kinabalu earthquake in 2015, the Penang landslide in 2017, the MH17 tragedy in Ukraine and the latest, in Pasir Gudang for the chemical waste pollution, from March 14 until the operation ended,” she said.
On a separate matter, Dr Wan Azizah expressed her disappointment over the move by Barisan Nasional MPs, who abstained from voting on the Constitution (Amendment) Bill 2019 in the Dewan Rakyat on Tuesday night.
“I feel disappointed, because during the debate session, they seemed to agree (with the amendment).
“We want Sabah, Sarawak and the peninsula to be equal partners,” she said.
The Bill to restore the status of Sabah and Sarawak as equal partners with Peninsular Malaysia failed to get the required two-thirds majority.A total of 138 MPs voted for the amendment while 59 abstained. — Bernama