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The modern St. John Ambulance started in Great Britain in 1877 when the Queen Victoria granted a Royal Charter to the organisation for its service to mankind. As the British Empire expanded in the late 19th century, so too did St. John Ambulance. The St. John Ambulance movement in then Malaya was traced to the British Army and the Federated Malay States Railways and Straits Settlements in 1908. During the World War I, members were drafted into the British Medical Auxiliary Service (MAS) and fought side-by-side with the British Army to Singapore.
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In July 1947, the returning British members and locals met and revived the St. John Ambulance in Federal Capital and soon spread to other States. The Associations were formed in each State to conduct first aid training and organise humanitarian activities while the Brigades recruited volunteers to apply the first aid skills to help the citizens.
Key national figures saw the need to amalgamate the Associations and Brigades for administrative efficiency and improve the coordination between the two entities. In 1972, the St. John Ambulance of Malaysia (Incorporation) Act No. 74 was passed and the new single entity was known as St. John Ambulance of Malaysia (S.J.A.M.) headed by a Commander-in-Chief.
In 2008, St. John Ambulance celebrates its centenary in Malaysia. The organisation has come a long way with a present membership strength of over 60,000. Beside first aid, as its core activity, St. John Ambulance are is now involved in pre-hospital emergency medical ambulance service, haemodialysis service, home nursing and other humanitarian activities.