Penang bridge hero takes negative comments in stride

Zaidi Salleh (second from left) says his critics can say what they like, as he was only focused on saving the woman.

GEORGE TOWN: The hero in the daring rescue of a woman who plunged into the sea from the Sultan Abdul Halim Muadzam Shah Bridge has brushed off criticism from internet users, saying he will take their comments positively.

Bridge auxiliary cop Zaidi Salleh said after reading the comments, he had vowed to train harder to improve his life-saving skills.

“Perhaps those who made such comments are professionals and might be better than me. I will train harder to be better.

“It is okay, they can say whatever they want. For me, I just wanted to save her,” he said when met at an appreciation ceremony held by the National Security Council at the Mara Building off Weld Quay here today.

On Wednesday, Zaidi had saved a 28-year-old woman who fell from the second Penang bridge.

After the story broke, several internet users chided him for being ill-prepared and “inexperienced”.

Zaidi said he had fashioned a floatation device from a half-cut jerry can (plastic container), tied it around his waist and climbed down the middle span of the bridge.

He managed to hold on to the woman and kept her head above water for nearly 20 minutes before fishermen arrived in a boat and picked them up.

Zaidi is a 25-year veteran of the Royal Malaysian Air Force, and had served at the Butterworth Air Base. He is currently an auxiliary policeman with Jambatan Kedua Sdn Bhd, the concession holders of the second Penang bridge.

He said due recognition must also be given to his colleagues, Mohd Fitri Abu Hassan and Megat Taufik Megat Kamarudin, who assisted in the rescue. The two were also presented certificates by the NSC.

Meanwhile, at Komtar, Penang state secretary Farizan Darus handed over RM500 and a certificate of appreciation to Zaidi, on the recommendation of Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng.

“He bravely dived into high seas to rescue someone. It was like watching a hero in a movie. I hope his fine example of putting his life on the line to save another will be an inspiration to others.

“Flight sergeant Zaidi has made Penang proud. He is chun (great) and brave.”