Bomba may relocate new Sarawak airbase to Sibu following Kuching site woes

Abdul Wahab addresses the press conference after the 2022 Service Excellence Awards. – Photo by Roystein Emmor

KUCHING (July 18): The Fire and Rescue Department (Bomba) is evaluating the possibility of relocating its new Sarawak airbase to Sibu should its planned airbase here fail to materialise.

Bomba director-general Datuk Abdul Wahab Mat Yasin said the initial plan for a strategic airbase in Kuching has been hindered by difficulties in acquiring land.

“Among discussions with several ministries, if we could not have an airbase in Kuching, we might consider locating the airbase in the centre of Sarawak, specifically Sibu, where it could provide coverage for the entire state with better proximity.

“Even then, it will be decided after discussing and determining which location we could obtain land for its construction first,” he told a press conference after the 2022 Service Excellence Awards (APC) today.

He said according to the Local Government Development Ministry, the state government would nominally provide land for the construction of a fire station or airbase and it would get priority development.

“As of now, due to the unavailability of facilities for constructing an airbase in Kuching, we have temporarily resorted to renting a hangar in Miri.

“We have expanded the hangar to accommodate helicopters for the time being and additionally, for long-term purposes, we have added approved positions by the Public Service Department (JPA) and have already filled those positions,” he said.

Abdul Wahab said Sarawak is one of the states that requires the recently launched Emergency Medical Air Rescue Services (EMARS), especially for communities in rural areas.

“Sarawak Bomba director Datu Khirudin Drahman informed me that a collaboration is needed to establish helipads in areas that require the service.

“We will also align this effort at hospital premises, including those in remote areas that require designated landing points,” he added.

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