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News : Cops Say No to Reviving MyDistress Emergency App
KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 23, 2013 -- The suspended MyDistress emergency application for smartphones will not be continued, Bukit Aman said amid calls for its return to allow Selangor residents to fight crime by alerting the police.
In an emailed response to The Malay Mail Online, the federal police said there were no plans for them to restart the one-touch crime alert phone app system, not even in the interim until the government can extend the new SaveME 999 emergency service.
The SaveME 999 is a one-stop call centre linked to the various emergency response units; but the service is currently available only to persons with disabilities.
"The government has decided that the SaveME 999 should be the single platform of panic button application nationwide and the emergency number 999 is always available to give assistance in emergency situations," the police statement read.
It reiterated that no other emergency smartphone application besides the SaveME 999 would be launched.
The police did not give the date for SaveME 999’s extension to the public, saying that the Ministry of Communications and Multimedia (KKMM) would make the decision.
"SaveME 999 was launched for OKU since September 2013. Later it will be extended to all smartphone users (the public) in the whole country (Date will be decided by KKMM)," it said, referring to persons with disabilities (OKU) by its Malay initials.
The Save ME 999 service is currently restricted to smartphone users with disabilities and was developed under the ministry’s Malaysian Emergency Response Services (MERS) 999 project.
Last Saturday, The Malay Mail Online reported Telekom Malaysia (TM) - the contractor of the MERS 999 project - as similarly saying that it would carry out the extension of the SaveME 999 application to the public once it receives the ministry’s instruction.
SaveME 999, which is managed by Telekom Malaysia, directs emergency alerts through the Malaysian Emergency Response Services (MERS) 999 to five agencies - namely the police force, hospitals, fire and rescue department, civil service and maritime enforcement agency.
While noting that the SaveME 999 service directs distress alerts to other agencies such as hospitals, the fire and rescue department, and the civil defence, the police force said it wants the ministry to put in a simple panic button application.
"PDRM has requested KKMM to include a simple panic button application for people to get immediate response from PDRM," it said, referring to the Royal Malaysian Police and the ministry by their Malay initials.
Some local crime watch activists and residents associations leaders have complained that the SaveME 999 application had multiple buttons, which they found "confusing", as users are presented with multiple choices of different emergency types and different agencies such as the police and fire and rescue department to deal with in their moment of crisis.
In contrast, they said the MyDistress application that was linked directly to the police at the touch of one button, was more convenient.
Last Thursday, DAP lawmaker Yeo Bee Yin criticised the government for abruptly pulling the plug last month on the MyDistress application without providing an immediate replacement, and demanded that the service be reintroduced to allow Selangor residents to send out distress alerts to police.
Although she noted that the police have said the SaveME 999 service will replace MyDistress, Yeo said no exact dates have been given for the extension of SaveME 999 to the public.
Both MyDistress - which was developed by private company Convep Mobilogy Sdn Bhd - and SaveME 999 employs the use of the global positioning system (GPS), allowing the authorities to quickly track down the location of emergencies.
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About SaveME 999:
The Ministry of Communications and Multimedia, in collaboration with Telekom Malaysia Berhad (TM) and supported by Ministry of Women, Family and Community Development present an emergency services app for people with disabilities.
About Telekom Malaysia:
Telekom Malaysia Berhad, DBA TM, is a integrated solutions provider in Malaysia, and one of Asia's leading communications companies, with a market capitalisation of RM13.9 billion and a workforce of 26,629 employees.
Published: Tuesday, December 24, 2013