SHAH ALAM: 4X4 ambulances for Civil Defence. In mid-June, polemic rose over a suggestion by the Health Minister to purchase negative pressure ambulances due to the current pandemic. What was more interesting was that most of the media that cover the controversy failed to notice that the Health Ministry had issued a tender for 490 type-B ambulances on June 17 and closes on July 29. Probably the RFB did not stoke any controversy as the specifications for the ambulances did not state any requirements for the negative pressure capability.
Weststar Maxus V80 Negative Pressure ambulances. Weststar.
Weststar Maxus which is promoting such ambulance says:
Negative Pressure Ambulances enable air pressure inside the ambulance to be kept beneath the barometric pressure of the outside environment. That essentially means the cabin of the ambulance becomes an air-tight sealed compartment and only outside air can flow into the cabin. The air inside the cabin will only be discharged outside the ambulance after passing through a bio-safety negative pressure exhaust purification device and cleaned via a HEPA filter, to prevent the transmission of pathogens and other infective agents. Built-in ultraviolet light meanwhile, will carry out an automatic disinfection of the cabin after each usage.
The controversy came after the Health Minister announced that it may seek to buy up to 500 negative ambulances after receiving two Weststar Maxus V80 negative pressure ambulances, gifted by the company for use at the University Malaya Medical Centre. A Weststar news release stated that its V80 negative pressure ambulances cost below RM400,000.
Just seven days after the RFB for the type-B ambulances (June 24), the Civil Defence Department (Angkatan Pertahanan Awam -APM) issued a RFB for 100 units of 4X4 ambulances.
Some of the specifications:
4×4 Single Cabin • The design of chassis must take into account that the appliance could stand laden through its life span. The overall dimension of the vehicle shall5,270 mm in length, 1,800 mm widths and 1,795 heights come with spare tyre full size 16” steel. • The design of suspension and steering gear must provide directional stability, having a self – centring action, and must transmit road shock in the form of “kick“ to the steering wheel.
ENGINE • Capacity 2399cc • Horse power 148 hp at 3400rpm • Torque 400 Nm at 1600 rpm • Arrangement inline 4 • Timing type :Chain• Fuel : Diesel • Manual Transmission ( 6 speed)
The ambulances must be fitted with a full suite of medical equipment.
The medical equipment shall comply with the following features:- • Approved by FDA and passed factory approval test • Certified by IEC or IEEE or both • Certified by Suruhanjaya Tenaga Malaysia • Please state any extra safety feature offered
Anyhow it must be noted here that the APM has some 50 type B ambulances mostly similar to the ones – Toyota HiAces – used by the Health Ministry and other providers – though none of them are meant for off-road use. For the RFB the winning bidder must supply 25 out of the 100 4X4 ambulances within two years of the contract award. Sabah and Sarawak APM will receive 25 each out 100 4X4 ambulances being sought while the rest is expected to be used by APM branches in the peninsula.
It is interesting to note that APM officials (pictures above) had sought industry briefings on 4X4 ambulances prior to the issuance of the RFB by meeting with users and visiting manufacturers. That said the engine specifications listed for the RFB is for a 2399cc vehicle may well proved a hindrance for off-road use especially in the interior of Sabah and Sarawak.
Note all of the one tonners bought by the military and police for the last two years are those with the 2.8 litre engines. A single cab Toyota Hilux 2.4 litre with manual transmission is priced by UMW Toyota at RM92,880. I am pretty sure a local automotive manufacturer could easily get a cheaper price if they order them from Thailand, direct from Toyota, ready to be fitted with the necessary modifications.
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The country has became too hateful and divisive that even ambulances for saving lives can be made into a bashing tool.
From my casual observation, MOH in Sarawak operates 4×4 ambulances mostly of Toyota Hilux Vigo 3.0cc for rural clinics that are connected by logging&Jiwa Murni roads. There are also new Toyota LandCruisers J70 3-door wagon, attached to Division Health Offices.