Only 20 pct of firefighters get to spend Raya, Gawai with their families

Mohammad Hamdan (centre) breaking fast with his officers in Sarawak. 

By Nancy Nais

KUCHING, May 11: The Fire and Rescue Department (Bomba) Malaysia is allowing only 20 per cent of the more than their 14,000 firefighters nationwide to go on leave ahead of the Hari Raya Aidilfitri.

In Sarawak, firefighters will face challenging days ahead as there will be double festivals, with Gawai Dayak just a few days before.

Its director-general, Datuk Mohammad Hamdan Wahid, explained it was set as such so that every fire station will have adequate personnel to serve during the festive celebrations.

“Similar to previous years, the remaining 80 per cent of firefighters would be on duty during the festive season. For Sarawak, it is a double celebration, therefore, adequate manpower is needed to assist with any emergencies as well as to shorten response time to the accident scene,” Hamdan said after the department’s breaking-of-fast yesterday.

Those who went on leave last year will have to stay back this year, and vice versa.

As these festivals are considered big, significant and celebrated back to back, the department is expecting escalating activities, especially cooking and, therefore, he urged the public to make sure safety is made their top priority wherever they are.

“Apart from that, we will continue to carry out patrols in areas identified as hot spots as well as intensify our safety campaigns on fire incidents in housing areas, including longhouses,” he added. — DayakDaily