THE Malaysian Red Crescent Society (MRCS) Penang branch wants to rope in more youths to be part of its regional disaster response team to assist relief operations.

Branch chairman Saw Ewe Yong said they could become members of the Voluntary Aid Detachment. “We provide free training. We hope youths will join the team so that they can provide help to the needy,” he said at the MRCS awards presentation ceremony at its headquarters yesterday. Currently, there are fewer than 100 active adult members in the state, he said.

A total of 115 members received their awards, which included the honorary life membership award, Distinguished Service Medal, excellent service medal and meritorious service medal.  The highlight of the ceremony was a special award presentation to Renesas Semiconductor (M) Sdn Bhd managing director Setsuo Ogura, who was also the branch’s fundraising dinner organising chairman for the past 15 years.

Ogura said the company was “passionate” about humanitarian and relief work. He said the company had contributed more than RM1mil to the branch in recent years.

The branch has about 8,000 members. It has 93 units in secondary schools and 91 units in primary schools. It has seven well-equipped ambulances to provide emergency aid.

About 250 members attended the ceremony that was held in conjunction with the World Red Crescent Day celebrations.