After battling Covid-19, armed forces’ Royal Medical Corps prepare for second wave of floods

The Malaysian Armed Forces is known to actively work behind the scenes.

However, unfounded allegations that the army was late in responding to the catastrophic floods in Selangor two weeks ago, have got the armed forces actively highlighting their work on social media.

This includes the cleaning-up process in the wake of the devastation that saw thousands being displaced.

Field hospitals, set up by the armed forces during the height of the Covid-19 battle, for example, were among operations that had played a crucial part in safeguarding Malaysians.

In fact, the men and women in uniform had been at the forefront of the fight against the pandemic. But in true military fashion, they shied away from the spotlight.

What many don’t know is that the army can deploy a forward surgical team, complete with operating facilities, in just two hours.

They had even studied and provided the Health Ministry with detailed recommendations regarding Covid-19 in the early days – covering all aspects, including steps that should be taken if the coronavirus went air-, or water-borne.

The operations of the army’s field hospitals nationwide, officially ended today – all without the pomp and circumstance, and on-ground media coverage.

Some of the field hospitals and field intensive care units (ICUs) that were set up during the pandemic nationwide were in Kepala Batas, George Town, Kapit, Sibu, Labuan, Pokok Sena Prison, and Johor Bahru. The armed forces were also at the forefront of the nation’s first Integrated Quarantine and Treatment Centre at the Malaysia Agriculture Exposition Park, in Serdang, Selangor.

The field hospital at the Sultanah Aminah Hospital in Johor Bahru, for example, was in operation for 192 days, and had treated 1,592 Category Four and Five patients. Seventy-three of its personnel were involved at the field hospital.

Confirmed Covid-19 patients in Malaysia were classified into five categories. Category Four was symptomatic patients requiring supplemental oxygen, while Category Five was the critically ill, with multi-organ impairment.

Commander of the Second Division of the Malaysian Infantry, Maj Gen Datuk Muhammad Huzaimi Sabri, said the field hospital at Penang Hospital, and the field ICUs at the Kepala Batas Hospital, were closed following the decline of Covid-19 cases, as quoted by the national news agency, Bernama, this afternoon.

“The operations could have been closed earlier but we were on standby due to the new Omicron variant,” said a military insider.

“We were then informed that the field hospitals were not required for the time being, as we may be required to set them up for the floods.”

Military personnel clearing the field hospital in Johor Bahru.

Malaysia is bracing for a second wave of floods. The Drainage and Irrigation Department warned that waters could rise in Kelantan, Terengganu, Pahang, and Johor, starting this Friday.

Even the Yang di-Pertuan Agong Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri’ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah had advised those staying on the East Coast to be prepared for massive floods.

In a statement issued by the Comptroller of the Royal Household, Datuk Ahmad Fadil Shamsuddin today, Al-Sultan Abdullah had also advised all government agencies and local authorities to be proactive in ensuring preparedness, coordination, and management, to face the second wave.