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Malaysia and Japan leverage CEM technology to fight COVID-19

Japan and Malaysia have been closely collaborating to contain the spread of Covid-19, the Japan ambassador to Malaysia recently highlighted. The contribution by the Malaysia-Japan International Institute of Technology (MJIIT), established in 2011 with Japanese development assistance as a centre of excellence in technology research, is a case in point. Face shields manufactured by cutting-age three-dimensional printers in MJIIT are put to use for the protection of medical front-liners.

A Lieutenant Colonel at the Malaysia Civil Defence Force, who has led efforts in developing anti-COVID-19 standard operating procedures, as well as setting up and managing quarantine stations, is a graduate of MJIIT’s Master of Disaster Risk Management programme.

MJIIT is the culmination of long-lasting bilateral cooperation under the Look East Policy, which was launched in 1981. The significance of Japanese developmental cooperation lies in the prioritisation of human resource development. For instance, there are nine Japanese professors teaching at MJIIT, sharing state-of-the-art Japanese engineering expertise.

Under the Look East Policy, more than 17,000 Malaysians studied in Japan and they are now playing leading roles in Malaysia. Their presence gives a unique strength to the friendship between Japan and Malaysia. The 40th anniversary of the policy will be celebrated next year. To accelerate global efforts in the development of medicines and vaccines to fight Covid-19, Japan joined the World Health Organisation-led initiative, called “Access to Covid-19 Tools Accelerator”, together with Malaysia in April 2020.

At its launch, Malaysia’s Prime Minister stated that no one should be left behind from vaccines. Japan shares his aspirations and looks forward to furthering cooperation with Malaysia in international fora. The ambassador stated that digital technologies such as artificial intelligence and the Internet of Things would be the key to this transformation. He foresees further engagements of Japan, as a frontrunner in science and technology, in Malaysia in the post-COVID-19 period.

In August 2019, the Selangor State Government, a group of researchers from the Disaster Preparedness and Prevention Center (DPPC) of the Malaysia-Japan International Institute of Technology (MJIIT), Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM), International Research Institute of Disaster Science (IRIDeS), Tohoku University, City of Sendai, Japan and the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) launched a publication on landslide and flood risks in the state of Selangor that was officially handed over to the Chief Minister of the State of Selangor.

Replete with simplified technical explanations and illustrations, the Report, called “Disaster Risk Report: Understanding Landslide and Flood Risks for Science-Based Disaster Risk Reduction in the State of Selangor”,  shows how the outputs of science-based analysis such as hazard maps can serve as a decision-making tool that allows local governments and community members better understand their disaster risks and come up with their own preventive actions.

This report is the first output of a four-year program run by Selangor State, IRIDeS and DPPC/MJIIT called “Strengthening the Disaster Risk Reduction Capacity to Improve the Safety and Security of Communities by Understanding Disaster Risks (SeDAR)”.

The SeDAR program enables the sharing and transferring of knowledge, know-how, and expertise of IRIDeS based on Japanese experience to local community leaders and residents in Malaysia to better prepare for and cope with disasters. DPPC brings technological expertise and local knowledge of the project, while Selangor Disaster Management Unit carries out the outreach activities to bring this knowledge and understanding to the people of Selangor.

Pushing CE technology

The COVID-19 pandemic has drawn attention to the urgent need for better ways of handling crises particularly through the use of technology. This is where Critical Event Management comes in. According to Everbridge, the global leader in critical event management and enterprise safety applications, a critical event is a disruptive incident which poses serious risk or threat to assets or people.

An effective Critical Event Management program and strategy is an integrated, end-to-end process that enables organisations to significantly speed up responses to critical events and improve outcomes by mitigating or eliminating the impact of a threat.

An effective CEM system would mean that business continuity, disaster recovery, active assailant, emergency response, natural disaster, IT incident risk management, and mass notification would all be rolled up into an easy-to-execute, strategic plan with long-term benefits.

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