THE Malaysian Civil Defence Force has always been close to my heart. It is home to many of my brothers and sisters.

I have personally seen the hard work, dedication and commitment of its personnel when it comes to serving the nation. This mantle of responsibility is stitched into the uniforms of each officer.

They place nation before self and even more so during the Covid-19 pandemic, where the Civil Defence Force worked alongside other frontliners to keep Malaysia safe.

I do understand that the call of duty comes first, but I have always been trying to push for uniformed personnel to upskill themselves academically. Upskilling is important. Not only does it improve our academic skills, it also brings about further contribution to our country.

So, it is truly pleasing to find out that the Civil Defence Force Deputy Chief Commissioner (Operations) Tuan Norhafifi Ismail (pix) will receive his PhD in Policy and Disaster Management during Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia’s 49th Convocation in Nilai, Selangor, next week. The 59-year-old has also added another feather in his cap as he becomes the first member of the force to achieve this milestone.

Possessing such an academic qualification will aid the Civil Defence Force greatly, especially when they plan for operations relating to disaster management. Assets of the force are not only limited to physical machineries such as light utility trucks, ambulance vans and boats, but also that of academic achievements.

Hence, I call on all uniformed personnel to draw inspiration from Norhafifi’s achievements. It may be difficult, but remember Rome was not built in a day. In the case of Norhafifi, he climbed the academic ladder with only a Certificate in Disaster Management way back in 1993.

My advice to all uniformed personnel in Malaysia is not to limit yourself. Find ways to go further in the academic arena. Education is one of the pillars of progress. Look for soft skills courses that will help. Appreciate the value and importance of education.

As a young officer, it is only natural for me to look up to my superiors, hoping that one day I may be able to achieve the success they have. Norhafifi has proven to not only me but all in the force that perseverance, dedication and commitment are values to hold on to when achieving academic and career success.

I would like to extend my congratulations to not only Norhafifi for his academic success but also to the Malaysian Civil Defence Force.

Yeap Ming Liong
Assoc Capt, Malaysian Civil Defence Force