MRCS began in 1948, after the Second World War and the Japanese Occupation, which had left Malaya Devastated and its population traumatised. It was also the early years of the Emergency, when the British Colonial Government declared war against the communists.
The earliest memories of MRCS were set up in Sabah and Sarawak (then North Borneo and East Malaysia today) by the British Red Cross in 1948.
In 1950, the first branches of MRCS in Peninsular Malaysia were set up in Penang. Within two years, branches had sprouted in Terengganu, Perak, Selangor, Melaka, Johor and Pahang.
When Malaya gained independence in 1957, the branches in Peninsular Malaysia were organized as the Federation of Malaya Red Cross Society (Incorporation) Act, 1962 as an auxiliary body to the Government. MRCS received official recognition as an independent National Society from International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) on 4th July 1963, and accordingly was admitted as a member of the International League of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies on 24th August 1963.
In September 1963, with the formation of Malaysia, an Act was passed by Parliament vide the Malaysian Red Cross Society (Incorporation) Act 1965 to incorporate the Federation of Malaya Red Cross Society and the Branches of the Red Cross in Sabah and Sarawak under the name of Malaysian Red Cross Society (Change of Name) Act, which received Royal Assent on 21st August 1957 and subsequently gazette it on 4th September 1975, and the movement became known by its current name: Malaysian Red Crescent Society.
One of the 186 member National Societies worldwide of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), ,MRCS runs programmes and activities in accordance with the spirit and requirement of its Incorporation Act of 1965, and the Movement fundamental principles.
ESTABLISHMENT OF THE MRCS HEADQUARTERS
In the beginning, home for MRCS was 519, Jalan Belfield, a large house and grounds in Kuala Lumpur city centre which were generously provided by the Federal Government in 1951. Officially opened in August of that year, it served as the MRCS office, and provided living quarters for the Headquarters staff as well.
The Belfield premises had to be vacated in 1977 as it was required for use as a transit camp for the Vietnamese Boat People (VBP), a term used to describe Vietnamese refugees who landed in Malaysia by boat to escape victimisation and persecution with the fall of Vietnam in 1975. The camp provided shelter for the VBP from 17th October to 9th December 1977.
On 26th September 1977, the MRCS moven into JKR 2358, Jalan Tun Ismail, Kuala Lumpur, where it remained for six years. In 1983, the MRCS National Headquarters made way for the area to be developed. Today, the majestic Putra World Trade Centre and the UMNO Building grace the area where the HQ once stood.
In February 1983, MRCS moved once again – this time to new office premises provided by the Malaysian Government at JKR 32, Jalan Nipah, Off Jalan Ampang, Kuala Lumpur. Until today, the new HQ affords a more conducive working environment with better co-ordination of activities as all the Divisions of the MRCS Secretariat, as well as the Selangor and Federal Territory Branch Office, are located on site.
Since the inception of MRCS in 1948, the Society has grown by leaps and bound in term of physical as well as non-physical assets. From its original two Branches in Sabah and Sarawak, the Society now has 15, with 148 chapter level in every state in Malaysia. MRCS membership has expanded tremendously from a few dozen to over 300,000 members, all of whom are very dedicated, compassionate and volunteerism conscious. They are the backbone of the Society. At any one time, MRCS has 300 volunteers on standby in order to respond immediately and effectively to any disaster or emergency situation within the country or anywhere in the world.
Apart from the national Headquarters, MRCS also has Branch Offices and Chapter Offices spread all over the country. Currently, the Societies has a fleet o 20 ambulances and a corps of 40 Ambulance Medical Aides. On addition, there are the Emergency Mobile Units manned by trained paramedics, Rapid Deployment Squads, Regional Disaster Response Teams, Emergency Response Units, boats and Mobile Kitchens.
MRCS is proud to be one of the 186 member National Societies of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies – the largest humanitarian organisation in the world.