MELAKA: A total of 84 new fire stations are needed to enhance the quality, capability, and efficiency of the Fire and Rescue Department (JBPM) in delivering services to the community nationwide, said Housing and Local Government (KPKT) Minister Nga Kor Ming.

Currently, he said Malaysia has 337 fire stations, and the fire risk index is used as a benchmark to determine the need for additional fire stations.

“Therefore, any area with urgent needs will be prioritised, and of course, this depends on the country’s financial position, with construction being carried out in phases,“ he told reporters after attending the Larian Bersama Bomba 2024 Malaysia MADANI at the Proclamation of Independence Memorial in Banda Hilir here last night.

Some 6,000 people took part in the run flagged off by Melaka Chief Minister Datuk Seri Ab Rauf Yusoh.

Nga added that the construction of the 84 new fire stations would also align with the number of personnel who will serve at these facilities as well as at existing stations.

Nga said that to date, there are nearly 15,000 firefighters nationwide and the allocated positions are almost fully filled.

“Some 509 individuals have been selected to fill the positions this year,“ he said.

He also said that the ministry and the department would ensure that personnel and officers on duty always comply with the instructions and standard operating procedures (SOP) set by the National Security Council (MKN).

Meanwhile, Nga said local authorities had been asked to issue compound fines to irresponsible parties who do open burning, especially during the current Southwest Monsoon season.

“Last year the country lost more than RM2.6 billion due to open burning,“ he added.