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5. Towards the New Millennium (1990-1999)

SJAM experienced a series of changes and expansions in the 1990s. To better publicise its events and activities, National Headquarters revived the publication of its own newsletter in 1991. The newsletter “Berita” was later renamed “The Responder” in 2003. Both “Berita” and “The Responder” fed the publicand members with news updates and records. The documentation was important to track SJAM history.

SJAM hosted the third Far East Seminar and the Commonwealth Cadet Camp in 1990 marking the first time these events were held in the country. In the same year, HRH Prince Richard, the Duke of Gloucester and Grand Prior of the Order of St. John made his first visit to Malaysia. A grand parade was held in conjunction with his visit at Mederka Square in Kuala Lumpur. By the mid-1990s, SJAM had enrolled more than 50,000 members. In 1990, the St. John Ambulance units in the Federal Territory of Kuala Lumpur were placed under the administration of a newly created SJAM Wilayah Persekutuan. When Putrajaya was made Federal Territory on 1 February 2001, it was also placed under the administration of SJAM Wilayah Persekutuan as Kawasan Putrajaya. In 1992, Major-General (Rtd) Lai Chung Wah succeeded Encik E. Paramasivam as fifth Commander-in-Chief following the latter’s retirement.

The 1995 National Conference was hosted by SJAM Sabah, for the first time in East Malaysia. In the same year, SJAM Selangor and Wilayah Persekutuan launched their Non-Emergency Ambulance Service. During the same period, SJAM Selangor was involved in major disaster relief for Bosnia and Somalia, and North Korea and rescue operations during the Highland Tower collapse and the Sungai Buloh Explosion. With help from the St. John Ambulance Wiltshire county, United Kingdom, SJAM started the “Training the Trainers” Course in 1992 replacing the Lay Instructors’ Course.

SJAM started its first haemodialysis centre in Selangor in 1992, followed by Melaka in the following year. In 1993, Dr. Low Bin Tick took office as sixth SJAM Commander-in-Chief. In the same year, the Duty Uniforms (field operation uniforms) for all members and officers were changed. 

As part of the expansion and localisation of SJAM, the National Headquarters published the first version of SJAM General Regulations in 1997. Prior to this, SJAB General Regulations (Overseas Edition) was used as a reference.

Together with the introduction of the localised General Regulations, new rank markings were also introduced to better project the organisation’s new image and making it easier for the public to be familiar with the organisation’s structure. The new rank markings were similar to rank markings used by the Royal Malaysian Police and Malaysian Armed Forces. A new version of Dress Regulations was published in 1998 to reflect these
changes in the uniform.

In 1997, SJAM instituted its own family of Order, Decoration and Medals to recognise the contribution of officers and members. The SJAM Order consists of five categories. There are badge and star, neck decoration and medals bestowed by the Commander-in-Chief annually.

In 1997, SJAM Melaka launched the Clinic Care project to provide health screening service for local residents. The massive involvement in first aid training earned the respect and recognition of government departments and hospitals. In 1998, SJAM was given the responsibility to train volunteers as first responders for the 1998 Kuala Lumpur Commonwealth Games. Its officers and members were also involved in the first aid standby during this historical event for the country. Having enhanced its reputation and accumulated varied experience during the last ten years, SJAM kicked started its Emergency Ambulance Service in the Klang Valley in 1998.