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By Nancy Nais
KUCHING, Nov 19: All Fire and Rescue Department (Bomba) personnel regardless of rank are prohibited from participating in any election activities for the upcoming 12th Sarawak Election.
This includes being an election officer or agent and campaigning.
Sarawak Bomba director Datuk Khirudin Drahman said the department in Putrajaya has issued a notice on this on August 9, 2017.
“It stated very clearly that all Bomba personnel are prohibited from being involved in or accepting appointments as officers or agents in any by-election, state election or general election.
“There are some that were appointed as election agents for the much-awaited state election and we have instructed them to decline or pull out,” Khirudin said at a press conference today.
At the same time, instruction has been given to freeze the leave of all its 1,160 personnel during the said period.
Bomba Sarawak has also prepared itself ahead of the state election.
Under its jurisdiction, they have seven zones that will go into full swing to cover all 82 state assembly seats.
“We have put in place strategies to try to mitigate some issues such as safety and fire awareness.
“There are some 3,600 polling stations and about 1.2 million voters. The number of voters may increase to about two million if it includes the newly registered youth who are 18 years old and above,” he said.
Among their strategies during the peak election period are to include their auxiliary and volunteer firefighters, particularly for rural constituencies.
Khirudin added that Bomba Sarawak has two helicopters that will go on standby mode as well.
“Both our helicopters (Mi171 and Augusta AW139) are based in Miri but we will try to put one in Kuching for emergency purposes only.
“This will not be used for other purposes. We will apply for permission from Putrajaya on this matter,” he assured.
Other tasks which Bomba will take on before polling day are inspecting voting premises, conducting briefing and simulation training, and ensuring all its personnel are given the Covid-19 booster dose.
On polling day itself, the team must be ready to respond to anything that might happen, especially those located further away from the nearest fire station.
After voters have cast their votes at the end of the day, Bomba personnel must ensure all counting centres are secured, and that everyone complies with the standard operating procedures (SOPs) put in place.
Meanwhile, to assure voters’ concerns over casting their votes at polling centres when Sarawak is still facing Covid-19, Khirudin said sanitisation works at every polling centre will be carried out every two hours. — DayakDaily