Fire chief laments public’s appalling reactions to disasters, crises

Khirudin Drahman

By Nancy Nais

KUCHING, Feb 25: Malaysians seem to prefer ‘gossiping’ (membawang) and taking pictures or videos rather than to react instantly to disaster or crisis, observes Sarawak Fire and Rescue Department (Bomba) director Khirudin Drahman.

“When something happens, regardless if it is a fire, accident or other disasters, the community’s reaction is to ‘membawang’. Time is of the essence and every single second is important. The golden seconds can save victims, which many people don’t realise or feel it,” Khirudin said after the state Bomba Cadet Leadership course closing ceremony today.


He gave an example of an oil tanker driver who burned to death in an accident involving three heavy vehicles near Slim River in Ipoh on Feb 24.

Two of the vehicles, the tanker and another lorry, burst into flames during the 9am incident but no one actually helped the victim, who was running in flames until he collapsed. The horrendous scene went viral on social media.

Unfortunately, he said, “Our society today is more likely to record events that occur rather than provide initial emergency assistance.”

When Bomba asked members of the public why didn’t anyone help the victim, Khirudin said the reply was, ‘We were unsure and afraid that the lorry will explode’.

This, he said, was one of the reasons why the department was constantly holding awareness programmes, but members of the public didn’t seem to care or bother.

“It is only when a crisis happens, then we panic. Once the feeling of panic comes in, we won’t be able to do anything or think straight. Therefore, the department is pushing to educate the community to act and be more responsive. We need to educate the communities to change their mindset,” he added. — DayakDaily