News : Only 2.3% of Daily Emergency Calls are Genuine
April 22, 2014 -- Only 2.3% of the 83,000 calls on average received by the Malaysia Emergency Response Services (MERS) 999 number each day are genuine, said Communication and Multimedia Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Shabery Cheek.
He said the majority of the calls, at about 76%, received by MERS 999, centres in the federal capital, Malacca and Sarawak were silent calls caused by smartphone users pressing the emergency call button.
"There are also false calls or individuals deliberately calling to chat with the operator. They (operators) have to entertain calls like this because they cannot straightaway tell whether they are genuine or not," he said in a briefing to a delegation of MPs who visited the MERS 999 call centre at the Telekom Malaysia Annexe 2 building last night.
He also thanked operators manning MERS 999 call centres for their diligence and patience in handling thousands of calls in a day, although each eight-hour shift was only manned by a staff of 20.
"It is important for them to keep calm and assist individuals seeking their help in getting the needed assistance in times of misfortune or disasters because a matter of just three minutes can mean life or death," he said.
Asked on the steps that could be taken to eradicate unwanted calls to the emergency line, Ahmad Shabery said his ministry would continue educating society on the matter so that the service serves its purpose.
This was particularly so on avoiding the use of the emergency call function on handphones which is not bound by password protection or mobile credit, he said.
The visit was to provide exposure to MPs, from both sides of the divide, on the operations of the centre.
Posted by Veronica Silva Cusi, news correspondent
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