Localisation (1957-1971)

The year 1957 marked a new chapter in the history of St. John Ambulance in Malaya when YAB Tun Abdul Razak bin Dato’ Hussein, the then Deputy Prime Minister Federation of Malaya, joined SJAA as its President. In the same year, Dr. Chang Hoey Chan became the first local SJAB Malaya District Commissioner and held the post until 1966. The inaugural First Aid and Nursing Competition was held in Kuala Lumpur to improve the First Aid and Nursing skills among its members. In the following year, under the direction of SJAA Chairman Tan Sri Dato’ Yong Shi Meow, the SJAA Rules were revised to suit our local needs.

Investiture held at Carcosa Seri Negara before the departure of High Commissioner 
Donald MacGillivray

On 17 February 1958, Major-General John Mather Kirkman, SJAB Overseas Commissioner-in-Chief officially handed over the administrative and executive powers of St. John Ambulance in Malaya to serving Malayan officers. This was followed by the formation of the Nursing Advisory Board by Federal Organiser, Ms. Irene Checkley and SJAB Malaya District Superintendent (Nursing), Datin Saadiah Sardon in November 1958.

Efforts to form a St. John Council in Malaya started in 1955.  Tan Sri Dato’ Yong Shi Meow, later SJAA Malaya Chairman, drafted the Rules of the St. John Council. The first St. John Council was under the chairmanship of the Minister of Health and Social Welfare, YB Tun Leong Yew Koh and subsequently his successor, YB Tun V. T. Sambanthan, along with a committee which included Tan Sri Dato’ Yong, YM Raja Musa Raja Mahadi and Encik E. Paramasivam. The Rules of the St. John Council were signed by Lady Edwina Cynthia Annette Mountbatten, Countess Mountbatten of Burma on 2 February 1960 and presented to the Minister of Health and Social Welfare, YB Dato’ Ong Yoke Lin. On 5 May 1961, the St. John Council of the Federation of Malaya held its first meeting in Kuala Lumpur, chaired by Dato’ Ong.

Signing of St. John Council Rules by the Countess Mountbatten

On 5 December 1964, the Commissioner-in-Chief met the chairmen and representatives of the Associations from all the eleven states at the Annual General Meeting. On 26 June 1965, the chairmen and secretaries of the States’ Council met at the St. John Ambulance Headquarters in Singapore. It was unanimously agreed that the Yang di-Pertuan Agong be appointed as the National President of the National St. John Council. The Council played a vital role in policymaking as well as providing a platform for SJAA and SJAB to coordinate their activities. Council Meetings were presided by the Chairman who was also the Minister of Health and attended by representatives from both SJAA and SJAB. Dato’ Seri Dr. Haji Megat Khas Megat Omar succeeded Dr. Chang Hoey Chan as SJAB West Malaysia District Commissioner in 1966 and served till 1972.