MALACCA: The government has allocated RM59.7 million to the Civil Defence Force (APM) for the acquisition and upgrading of assets including the purchase of four-wheel drive ambulances and other vehicles nationwide.

Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Sabah and Sarawak Affairs and Special Functions) Datuk Wilson Ugak Kumbon said the allocation would be channelled in phases until July next year.

“The allocation involves RM26 million for the upgrading of APM assets, RM26.9 million for the purchase of 100 four-wheel drive ambulances and RM6.8 million for the purchase of 46 four-wheel drive vehicles that will be used during rescue operations.

“We hope all of the assets can be made available as soon as possible because APM badly needs the assets to enable it to be in a state of readiness 24 hours a day to face any disaster, especially in the current erratic weather condition besides replacing broken down vehicles and those lacking the mechanical capacity for rescue operations,” he said.

He said this when met by reporters at the Civil Defence Force Special Team (PASPA) skills training closing ceremony at Kampung Kuala Sebatu jetty in Sungai Rambai which was also attended by the APM chief commissioner Aminurrahim Mohamed.

A total of 38 participants received blue berets for passing the heavy training conducted over a period of 31 days.

Wilson said to date, the National Security Council (MKN) has endorsed a total of 130 personnel in the special team to be assigned to disaster red zones and emergency locations.

“We are targeting to have an additional 80 PASPA personnel until next year and continue this skills training to train capable personnel to be deployed in high-risk areas,“ he said.

Meanwhile, Wilson also said he had proposed that PASPA be absorbed into the Special Malaysia Disaster Assistance and Rescue Team (SMART) because APM also has the skills and rescue equipment just like other teams. - Bernama