TAPAH: Search and rescue (SAR) operations in the jungle are a very challenging task for the Fire and Rescue Department.
But it is an advantage for Orang Asli who are members of the department.
Fireman Muhammad Yusri Bahpat, 42, from the Semai tribe, is attached to the Tapah Fire and Rescue Station.
He said he was often called upon in SAR missions to locate people missing in the jungle.
Muhammad Yusri said their jungle survival and tracking skills make the community an ideal choice to be recruited.
“Six months after joining in 2010, I was assigned to the Nilai station in Negri Sembilan before being transferred to this station in 2013,” he said in an interview.
He said among the techniques used to search for a missing person in the jungle was to locate footprints.
The father of five from Kampung Batu 16, Jalan Pahang here said Orang Asli firemen need to have the right skills in various operations.
Another fireman, Raihan Bah Kapak @ Ramli, 36, who is from the Semai tribe, has expertise in catching wild and dangerous animals.
He joined 10 years ago and was stationed at the Kajang fire station for three years.
He was later transferred to the Tapah station, which is close to several Orang Asli villages, including his own village of Kampung Batu 14.
“I was often involved in operations to catch various types of snakes and other animals such as wild boars,” he said, adding that he would subsequently hand them over to the Wildlife and National Parks Department.
For Khuruf Atai, 36, from the Jahut tribe, what was unforgettable for him was the search for Mohammad Ashraf Hassan, also known as Acap.
Mohammad Ashraf had gone missing while participating in the Gopeng Ultra Trail 2019 in Gua Tempurung.
“However, no trace and clues were found despite various efforts,” said Khuruf, who is from Kampung Seboi, Kuala Krau, Temerloh, Pahang.
Perak Fire and Rescue Depart–ment director Azmi Osman said it had four Orang Asli staff members so far and he encouraged the community to join the fire brigade.
“They are known for their fighting spirit, high level of integrity and trustworthiness in carrying out their duties,” he said. — Bernama