Give firefighters critical allowance, activist tells govt

The nation’s 14,000 firefighters deserve a critical allowance in addition to a pay rise, says social activist Lee Lam Thye.

KUALA LUMPUR: The government has been urged to implement its proposal to pay a critical allowance to Fire and Rescue Department staff in Budget 2020.

Social activist Lee Lam Thye said since the critical allowance could not be given this year, it is hoped the government will include it with the proposed salary increase for firemen in the budget on Friday.

Lee said the tasks of fire and rescue personnel were as challenging as those of other important agencies.

“The critical allowance will benefit more than 14,000 firefighters nationwide. It is reported that if the allowance is approved, an estimated RM18 million is required to be distributed to the firemen at a rate of RM200 a month,” he said in a statement today.

He noted that the Yang di-Pertuan Agong Sultan Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah himself had expressed his concern over the need to improve the welfare of firefighters, including providing a critical allowance.

He said the death of firefighter Muhammad Adib Mohd Kassim, and the drowning incident involving six firemen at a disused mining pond while trying to rescue a teenager last October were incidents where unsung heroes had sacrificed their lives for others.

Lee also said the government should provide sufficient funding for the department’s human resource development so that they have the technical skills to handle emergency cases.

The funding should include purchase of state-of-the-art machinery and equipment as well as personal protective equipment, he said.