Speech by Datuk Seri Ang Lai Soon, Chairman and Commander of St. John Ambulance Sarawak, at the closing ceremony of St. John Ambulance Sarawak’s first aid and home nursing competition on June 25.
As you all probably know, when a person has had cardiac arrest or heart attack, the first few minutes are critical.
In fact, every second counts!
For three decades, I have been campaigning for cardiopulmonary resuscitation or CPR to be taught in all institutions of learning in the country, and hopefully the new federal government under the enlightened new Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim will now do all the necessary to make this official, together with the use of AED.
This will help save many lives lost every day. When implemented, it will not overwhelm the healthcare system which is still struggling with the surge of Covid-19 worldwide.
In fact, one of the recent federal education ministers responded officially to my appeal, but due to several sudden changes of federal governments, it was not implemented.
Now is the time. The hour to act!
I am confident that this unity government will end this uncertainty, once and for all.
So, this three-decade campaign to make CPR part of the institutions of learning’s curriculum will be over.
The decades of efforts are not in vain. A glorious end of the bloodless “war” to save lives.
In all wars, or proxy wars, waged or fought by man, lives are lost, but with this campaign (for CPR), lives will be saved!
The good news is that there is no wastage of public funds.
Most projects we hear today cost hundreds of millions, if not more. But in this case, you only need to acquire an AED machine (average RM5,000 to RM10,000 a piece) for use with CPR before casualty is taken to the nearest hospital.
A very senior, loyal and dedicated SJAS official was in Sematan with his family for a holiday. In the middle of the night his wife had cardiac arrest. As none in the family knew CPR, they looked for a clinic, but on arrival the casualty was pronounced dead.
Some young children have been known to save lives by performing CPR. Even trained dogs can perform that task!
My grateful thanks to all officers and members of St. John Ambulance Sarawak and across the Commonwealth for their support, the federal government, and Sarawak’s Minister of Welfare Datuk Seri Fatimah Abdullah for supporting, stating that schools and institutions of learning could incorporate the training in the system with no inconvenience to all.
All first-aiders know CPR, but if any non-first aider just attends a CPR training session for two hours, he or she is actually able to perform the life-saving skill, too.
I have requested the deputy commander to arrange to send our first-aiders to hospital’s A&E department for practical work.
Our trained adults are encouraged to work part-time or full-time in the private and public sectors.
My thanks to all our friends in the media for their continued and generous support given to our causes and voluntary work. Their public-spiritedness must be emulated.
In the severe climate change we experience today, we continue to see unfolding before us almost every day torrential rains, massive floods, typhoons, uncontrollable wild fires, droughts, freezing cold and scorching heat.
All these not only kill human and animal lives but affect everything in life as well, including the recovery of the much battered global economy.
We must go green, go for renewal energy. Wind and solar are possibly the best, but not constructing more dams.
Phase out coal and fossil fuels. Plant more trees and not destroy the remaining rainforests. Recycle plastic bags and everything that can be recycled.
We all must do our part as responsible citizens. This is a critical time, because if we do not stop climate change now, this planet Earth may just reach a point when mankind will find it difficult to survive 20 years from now due to severe weather.
So, we all must do our part in protecting the very frail environment.
I followed with enormous interest the progress of this competition. The standard is considered reasonably high, bearing in mind that most of the participants did not have much exposure to enhance their skills due to the Covid-19 lockdown.
A total of 18 ambulance and home nursing teams took part. It was wonderful that St. Mary’s and St. Joseph’s secondary schools were able to send their teams to the competition. Kuching’s high schools, as always, had the most teams again.
To all the winners and participants, I send them my congratulations. I know that Dr. Shehab, together with the organizing committee, the judges and the volunteers have all worked very hard for the competition.
To each and every one of them, I say “Thank you very much” for a job well done.
I take this opportunity to thank all officers and members for doing a magnificent job when they are on first aid duty, making a contribution to society.
I congratulate all those members who have performed well in SPM. We are very proud of your success.
(Datuk Seri Ang Lai Soon is Sarawak social activist, philanthropist, founder of St John’s Ambulance Sarawak.)