PETALING JAYA: The government should reconsider the proposal to improve the welfare of Fire and Rescue Department personnel ahead of Budget 2020, says Tan Sri Lee Lam Thye.
The social activist said since the critical allowance could not be introduced this year, the government could include it together with salary increments for firemen in next year's budget.
"The critical allowance will benefit more than 14,000 firefighters throughout the country," he said in a statement on Sunday (Oct 6).
He added that Yang di-Pertuan Agong Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri'ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah had also expressed concern for the needs and welfare of firemen, including the critical allowance.
"It was reported that if implemented, an estimated RM18mil is needed to be distributed to firemen at a rate of RM200 a month.
"Many of us are unaware or do not understand how challenging the task and workload of firefighters are," he said.
Lee added that the department is also responsible for enforcing laws relating to safety and fire prevention as well as providing efficient and effective humanitarian services.
He said their help is needed for various situations including accidents and natural disasters such as floods and landslides.
"Firefighters are frequently involved in search and rescue operations," he said.
"The time has come for us to reward the firefighters who are willing to sacrifice their lives to ensure the safety of others especially during fires and other types of natural disasters," he said.
The tragic death of firefighter Muhammad Adib Mohd Kassim and the drowning incident involving six firefighters at a disused mining pond in October last year are some of the incidents where these unsung heroes had sacrificed their lives for others, he added.