KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 2 — The Malaysian Armed Forces (MAF) will set up field hospitals in five states identified as facing a spike in Covid-19 infections.

Senior Defence Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein says the five states are Sabah, Johor, Kedah, Penang and Kelantan.

He said efforts to manage and ease the situation in all the states would definitely be a priority for the MAF.

“As I said yesterday, one of the most important things for the MAF at this time is to fulfil the national agenda, especially fighting Covid-19.

“The MAF has sufficient infrastructure, assets and expertise and ready to be mobilised at any time,” he told a press conference at Wisma Pertahanan, here, today. 

Hishammuddin said the setting up of the field hospitals was to help provide treatment to Covid-19 patients, especially those in Category 3 and above, and also to reduce the burden of the Ministry of Health (MOH) in those states.

“Besides, it also takes into account the remark by the Minister of Health (Khairy Jamaluddin) yesterday that one of the (government’s) priorities now is to increase the vaccine supply and ramp up the vaccination rate in the five states,” he said.

Hishammuddin also said that apart from helping to provide vaccination teams in the five states, especially in rural areas that are difficult to reach by the MOH, the MAF would also provide appropriate assistance to other states to ensure success in the fight against Covid-19.

“This includes increasing the capacity of drive-through vaccination sites for the public as set by the National Security Council (MKN) Special Meeting today. The MAF is just waiting for the location confirmation by the National Covid-19 Immunisation Task Force to mobilise its assets,” he said.

Elaborating on the involvement of MAF assets in the setting up of the field hospitals, Hishammuddin said he believed that the MAF had no problem at all to make it work and run smoothly. 

“I believe we can do this, InsyaAllah. The cooperation from all stakeholders will ensure the plan runs smoothly,” he said.

When asked whether the presence of military personnel in remote and rural areas would cause uneasiness among the people, Hishammuddin said they need not worry as the presence of the military personnel is to carry out the national agenda to fight the coronavirus.

“Right now, we are not at war with anybody, we are at war with the coronavirus. So, the people and villagers in the rural areas need not worry about the presence of military personnel,” he said.

Meanwhile, Chief of Defence Forces Gen Tan Sri Affendi Buang said the setting up of the field hospitals in the five states was necessary and upon the request of the MOH.

“The MAF is here to help and we can get the field hospitals ready within one or two weeks,” he said. — Bernama