Tuesday, October 2, 2007

DAIL 999 for all emergencies in Malaysia

On call 24/7: Khirah Misni adjusting her headset while attending to a call at a TM Bhd call centre in Banda Kaaba, Malacca, on Monday. TM Bhd operates eight emergency services centres nationwide 24 hours a day, seven days a week and has 138 trained staff dedicated to handle the emergency calls.

PUTRAJAYA: It's back to 999 to report all forms of emergencies.

And callers can expect their calls to be answered within 10 seconds or after four rings.

Cellular phone users who had been dialling 112 could also dial the 999 numbers to reach the emergency call centre.

Unlike before people need not dial three sets of numbers (999, 994, 991 and 112 - for cellular phone users) to reach the different emergency and rescue service providers in the country.

Deputy Energy, Water and Communications Minister Datuk Shaziman Abu Mansor said specially-trained professionals from the 999 Emergency Call Service Centre would handle all emergency calls and reroute them, complete with digital data on the type of emergency and location.

The calls would then be handled by the respective emergency service providers like the police, ambulance, fire stations and civil defence rescue units.

Shaziman said the 999 call centre would be fully managed by Telekom Malaysia (TM) Bhd and a nationwide campaign on the use of a single number was being carried out.

“By January next year, the 991 and 994 numbers will not be used anymore, but those who still use it to call emergency service will be rerouted to the emergency call centre located throughout the country,” he told reporters during a soft launch of the single emergency number and awareness campaign called Satu Negara Satu Nombor – 999.

Shaziman said the problem of emergency calls not being answered should not arise as the unattended calls would be passed to the next available call centre.

There are a total of eight emergency call centres in the country, with the latest centre opening in Malacca.

Parallel emergency numbers, such as 991 for the Civil Defence Department and 994 for Fire and Rescue, were introduced in 1991, so that such calls could be handled directly by the departments concerned.

Before that, a single emergency number 999 was used to report all emergencies.

Shaziman said the Government decided to develop an efficient system to regroup it back to 999 after public complaints over the four emergency numbers and the many disturbing crimes in the country.

“It is not easy to remember several emergency numbers when a person is in distress. Even I am confused at times,” he said.

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