Penang State First Responder Training of Trainers Course

Speech by Ms Josephine Tan, General Manager of Penang Green Council on 9th April 2022 at Auditorium A, Komtar.

Good morning, ladies and gentlemen, and welcome to the Penang State First Responder Training of Trainers Course in this lovely morning. I believe everyone here shares the same passion with me and also wish to help and contribute to our society.

As part of Penang2030 vision which is to build A Family- Focused, Green and Smart State that Inspires the Nation, the Penang State Government has launched the Penang Green Agenda 2030 in 2021, which sets out the framework for Penang to achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goals by 2030. PGA2030 covers 10 key areas which are identified and highlighted by the people of Penang as important issues now and going forward. Disaster Risk Reduction & Management is one of the topics discussed under PGA and one of the recommendations from the working group members is to set up a dedicated disaster management unit for the State. We are proud to announce that State Government has set up this Disaster Management Unit in January this year. It is a two year effort in preparing, meetings and countless engagement from all stakeholders. It is not only a State Government unit but also a unit that is ready to assist our people on the ground before, during and after the disaster.

There are 4 phases of disaster management – Mitigation, Preparedness, Response & Recovery. Mitigation phase occurs before a disaster takes place. This phase is important to prevent future emergencies while taking steps to minimise the risks and consequences for the people and their property. It is the solution on how to prevent or at least cut down the risk that we face by our people during disaster hit. For example, nature based solution is one of the good ways to reduce the city heat and flash flood; restoration of green spaces, planting trees, interlocking pavement, proper land use and planning, etc.

The second phase which is Preparedness phase also begins before the disaster. This is where we take actions ahead of time to be prepared for an emergency by organising trainings, course and exercise on disaster preparedness. This is also the reason that we are here today, to learn what should we do if there is an emergency happens. We might be able to save a life if we are equipped with the basic life saving skills.

The Response phase occurs immediately after a disaster to ensure that people are out of harm’s way. In Malaysia, we are guided by The National Security Council Directive No.20/ MKN 20, it is the policy and mechanism of national disaster management and relief.

The final phase which is the Recovery phase is the restoration following the impacts from a disaster. How to build back better? One of the most common problems that we will face is waste management, so how are we going to manage the disaster debris? What is the plan to prevent a disease outbreak? These disaster management phases are ultimately important to ensure an effective and coordinated response to disasters.

Knowledge is power! In Penang Green Council, we have the aim to equip our future environmental leaders with the adequate knowledge about environment so that they can pass on the message to their local communities. By saying so, we sincerely hope that this course would be able to build and prepare ourselves to be a resilient community especially during these challenging times with alarming and unpredictable natural disasters.

Ladies and gentlemen,

Before I end my speech, I would like to take this opportunity to thank all participants, young leaders here for your effort and time in attending today’s course. Not forgetting the MMK for Environment and Welfare and Disaster Management Unit, thank you for the support.

Lastly, we hope that this course for capacity building will become a standard mechanism for Disaster Management Unit to continue the effort in training local communities in Penang State. This collective effort will bring benefit to the people of Penang and eventually be a great example to the nation. We did it once, I’m sure we can do it again!

Thank you and all the best to all participants.

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