A celebration of integrity, accountability

SPEECH

Datuk Seri Ang Lai Soon is chairman and commander of St. John Ambulance Sarawak. The following is his speech on the occasion of the parade commemorating the 48th anniversary of the founding of St. John Ambulance Sarawak and the 4th anniversary of ‘The Glorious Restoration’ yesterday at the Jubilee Ground Kuching.

 

I am deeply honoured and delighted, and indeed, enormously proud to be here with you today to celebrate St. John Ambulance Sarawak’s founding, and to celebrate the 4th anniversary of ‘The Glorious Restoration’.

My deep interest in the great charity work of The Order of St. John, which bears the imprint of the ebb and flow of centuries of this ancient Order of Chivalry’s chequered, and often rather turbulent history, is reflected in many books and in some of my speeches and messages over the years.

Ang Lai Soon

As head of St John Ambulance Sarawak, I pay warm tribute to all ranks and our council members of St John Ambulance Sarawak, past and present, for having built up a growing vibrant organisation dedicated to our motto “For the service of Mankind”.

The readiness of our people to give up some of their time and energy has provided our organisation with a regular inflow of cadets and adults. This has helped us to keep up with the rapid advances in technology in our organisation, both in our training programmes and in our para-medical services in our ambulance services.

I would like at this juncture to express my sincere thanks and deep appreciation to all our members for their sterling efforts all these years, to the generous federal and state governments for the staunch moral support given to SJA Sarawak, to the Fourth Estate for its unstinting support, to the public at large for their help in fund raising, and to my Sarawak council members, and to all ranks for their loyal support in our endeavours

As we look forward to a new year planning a new programme of activities and projects, I think it pays for us to be reminded that certain fundamentals governing international organizations such as St. John Ambulance, of which Sarawak is a partner in service, are constant and unchanging.

All organisations and activities operate within a set system of rules and regulations. Such systems exist for very good reasons.  They allow us, including, St. John Ambulance Sarawak, to determine who among us have the necessary integrity, in the true sense of the word, to be voluntarily bound by the set of rules and procedures.

One therefore, has to be a highly disciplined and honourable person, and above all, a person of principle in order to be able to lead a group of individuals, a community, a state, a territory, or a nation effectively and efficiently.  Only then can we and our organisation one be respected.

Of course, the rules and procedures must be fair and just to all parties, bearing in mind we are all volunteers in non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and charities.  We are neither paid nor do we make a living from NGOs and the charities we are associated with.

St. John Ambulance Sarawak, as an arm of St. John Ambulance, a world-wide voluntary organisation, we are a non-government organisation of repute that is not only a means of giving our future leaders experience in service, leadership and management, but even more importantly in imparting a high standard of ethics in all areas of the lives of our officers and members.

These high standards will ensure that in your future roles you will be guided by ethical and professional considerations first and foremost, setting aside personal self-interests where these conflict with the common good or where these involve taking unfair advantage for personal gain.

These high standards will also ensure that fairness, equity, transparency, and compassion will prevail in your future roles, and rules and regulations are followed.

We are here today to celebrate an ideal. A celebration of the time-honoured ideal charity. A celebration of integrity and accountability.

I am confident that if each and every one of us, no exception, in St. John Ambulance Sarawak will continue to uphold the concept of ideal charity and integrity; we will continue to be respected by society and the people, we will continue to flourish, and together we will take this humanitarian organisation to greater heights.

I deem the presence today of a senior Cabinet minister (Local Government and Housing Minister Datuk Dr Sim Kui Hian), a senior and learned judge of the High Court of Borneo (Datuk Lee Heng Cheong), the Archbishop (Simon Poh) and the elders of religious and ethnic groups, and the presence of the First Citizen of this City (DBKU Mayor Datuk Abang Abdul Wahap Abang Julai) is a tribute to this ideal charity. Their significant presence and that of many other distinguished guests is, I believe, a recognition of an ideal charity which all of you on parade today also believe in and support.

No known words are adequate to describe how I feel, and how grateful I am to each and every one of you, from the cadet, adult to the deputy commander (Datuk Dr Yao Sik Chi), the parents, all the supporters and well-wishers, the governments and the Fourth Estate for making St. John Ambulance Sarawak what it is today.

My mission in life and my efforts as a voluntary charity worker have not been in vain. I am humbled and profoundly overwhelmed beyond description.