By Nancy Nais
KUCHING, May 24: As a child who looked up to the men in enforcement uniforms, it made Khirudin Drahman@Hussaini determined to join the uniformed forces even if it took him several attempts to get into one.
Sharing his story about how it almost didn’t happen, Khirudin said it was back in his early 20s when he applied to join the police force but he was rejected.
He then applied to join the military for which he was accepted, but the happiness didn’t last very long as it was against his late mother Melihah Hendry‘s wish.
Being a dutiful son, he chose to listen to his mother.
However, his love for uniformed bodies never ceased, so he tried his luck to get into the Fire and Rescue Department Malaysia (Bomba).
“Alhamdullilah, I was accepted and here I am, 30 years later, still serving the force with pride and joy. Maybe it is my destiny to be with Bomba,” he told DayakDaily after the department celebrated his 30th anniversary with the force recently.
A local boy from Kuching, Sarawak, and graduated with a diploma from Institut Teknologi Mara (now UiTM), Khirudin started his firefighter career on May 22, 1989.
Right after his training from Fire and Rescue Academy of Malaysia central region (formerly known as Kuala Kubu Bharu Training Center) he was assigned to be the head of the Sibu fire station from 1990 to 1996.
He then served as the Bomba chief of Sibu zone from 1996 to 1999 before he was promoted to Commandant of the Fire and Rescue Academy in Kuala Kubu Bharu, Selangor from 2000 to 2003.
Holding various senior positions, he was given the task to head the department’s training and human resources unit based in Putrajaya from 2003 to 2008, followed by his appointment as director of Bomba Sabah from 2008 to 2011 and director of Bomba Kuala Kumpur from 2011 to 2018.
He is currently the director of Bomba Sarawak.
“Once I got myself into Bomba, I set a very clear mind that I’ve chose this career. I was determined to be myself and I think that was the key to what I considered being successful.
“My doors are always open and accessible to everyone in the department. That is very important to me. I’ve walked the ladders, from a fire station officer to what I am today, leading the biggest state in Malaysia, which is unique, diversified, the highest challenge across the board and my own hometown,” Khirudin said.
Having served under five former director-generals — Datuk Badarudin Mat Isa, Datuk Dr Soh Chai Hock, Datuk Jaafar Sidek Tambi, Datuk Hamzah Abu Bakar, and Datuk Seri Wan Mohd Nor Ibrahim — he also attributed his success and great working experiences to these mentors.
“And now, under the leadership of Dato Mohd Hamdan Wahid, I promise to continue delivering my best for the department and our Sarawakian community,” he added.
Well known for his media-friendly stance, Khirudin is also active on social media.
Heading the state with more than 1,300 firefighters and staff, 32 fire stations divided across seven zones in six divisions covering operation, prevention, forensic, training, engineering and management, Khirudin said, “I wanted the public to know about Bomba, what our personnel are doing, know who I am, and what is going on in the department.”
He also expressed feeling good about the things the department had been able to accomplish.
Apart from that, Khirudin is also very active in community activities especially those involving the safety and well-being of the community.
“A lot of those things I can’t take credit for, but one of my goals was to empower those under my command and it has worked,” he added.
Married to Sorryta Asgar Khan and blessed with five children, all of whom have been his pillars of strength all these years, Khirudin was awarded the Excellent Service Award four times. He also received the Fire Safety Award, Fire Service Medal, Director General’s Medal, Bakti (Sarawak) Medal and Kesatria Mangku Negara (KMN).
“Thinking back, 30 years being a part of something, is a bittersweet moment for me as it has become a big part of my life. I hope, my story will motivate our young fire officers to follow my footsteps and be an inspiration to others. My motto – Serve, Lead and Inspire,” he said. — DayakDaily