Materia Medica Malaysiana

October 5, 2007

Number to call is 999

Filed under: Uncategorized — malaysianmedicine @ 3:06 pm

NST: PUTRAJAYA: The number to call in all emergencies is now 999. The common number for all emergency services was launched yesterday with its motto – one nation, one number.
The government felt it had no choice but to have a single, co-ordinated emergency number after many “worrying incidents”, said Energy, Water and Communications Deputy Minister Datuk Shaziman Abu Mansor during the launch.
Previously, there were three numbers, and this caused a lot of confusion. The problems were compounded by complaints of unanswered calls, he said.
He promised that with the one number, any emergency call will be answered and vetted within 10 seconds.
Telekom Malaysia has been tasked with handling the system. Under phase one, the seven existing TM 999 call centres will be upgraded and another one will be set up in Malacca. All 999 calls will be channelled to TM emergency call centres to be “handed over” directly to the agencies concerned.
Under the second phase, which will start in January, all 999 calls will automatically go into TM’s computer telephony interface and sent to the various agencies through its computer-aided despatching system. Calls made to the old numbers will automatically be routed to 999.
“All 999 call centres will be connected to the agencies through a virtual private network. The telephone number and location of callers will be identified through automatic number identification and automatic location identification with the help and sharing of information between telecommunication service providers,” said Shaziman.
He warned pranksters that “all hoax calls will be kept on record”.
The government will enforce Section 233 of the Communication Act and Multimedia Act 1998 to overcome this problem.
Pranksters can be fined up to RM50,000 or jailed for one year, or both.
Last year, almost 99 per cent of the 999 calls TM received were false. Only 2.32 calls made to the the Civil Defence Department’s 991 line were genuine, he said, adding that having one number will overcome the problems of missed calls and crank calls.
TM said the 999 emergency service number is free. TM bears the average RM4 million a year cost of running the centres itself, and the calls are handled by trained emergency service staff.
It said that last year 98 per cent of calls were answered within 10 seconds, meeting the communication and multimedia commission’s guideline of 90 per cent of calls answered within 10 seconds.

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