Despite paltry stipend, APM volunteer Suzaini values experience, knowledge gained


SHAH ALAM: If money was all that mattered, Suzaini Sulaiman would not be a full-time volunteer with the Kuala Selangor chapter of the Malaysia Civil Defence Force (APM).

The 45-year-old concedes that the allowance he gets from the APM is measly – but he hastens to add that working with the Force has given him knowledge and experiences that money cannot buy.

Suzaini, who is also a part-time journalist for the NSTP for the Kuala Selangor district, joined the APM in August last year.

“Volunteers like me are paid an allowance of RM6 an hour.

“If you ask me if that is enough, I would definitely say ‘no’. But the experiences, knowledge, skills and values that I have learnt from the APM are priceless. Money cannot compare.

“Many people do not see it that way, but for me, it is all worth it,” the Tanjung Karang native said.

Suzaini serves as a medic and member of a high rope rescue operations unit at APM.

From pulling out drowning victims to extricating the dead from car wrecks, he has had more than his share of dealing with traumatic, dangerous and difficult situations.

Among his more significant experiences was assisting in the burial of 23 people who perished in the Pusat Tahfiz Darul Quran Ittifaqiyah blaze in Kuala Lumpur in September last year.

He said he was glad he was able to help the grieving families put their loved ones to rest.

It is this rewarding sense of helping people which drives Suzaini to continue providing his services through the APM.

“Although I am with the Kuala Selangor chapter, whenever I get called to cross over to other districts to assist, I am ever-ready. It is my passion to help others and I will go anywhere if my services are needed.

“I will contribute whatever I can, my time and energy, wherever and whenever I am called,” he said.

Suzaini said he chose to join APM a year ago, in the spirit of volunteerism instilled in him as a high schooler; and to enhance his skills as a medic which he gained as a member of the St John Ambulance Club.

And there is also an exciting element to what he does.

Suzaini said that he gets a thrill when ascending and descending tall buildings; and he is in the midst of a course in high rope rescue which will earn him the position of trainer. © New Straits Times Press (M) Bhd