Hold refresher course for 999 operators, says Lam Thye

“I think they need to go for a refresher course, so they will know exactly how to handle the situation and to let the public feel that they are being assisted.”

KUALA LUMPUR: The Malaysia Crime Prevention Foundation (MCPF) has criticised a 999 operator who told a caller to call the state police operations room while her family was being attacked by masked men at home.

MCPF senior vice-chairman Tan Sri Lee Lam Thye said all possible help should be extended to people in emergency situations, adding that Malaysia Emergency Response Services (MERS) 999 operators should be sent for refresher courses.

“It was ridiculous for the (operator) behind the MERS 999 number to ask the caller to dial the number for the police operations room during an emergency,” he told the New Straits Times.

Lee was responding to a Facebook post by Thivyah Veelurajan, whose family was robbed on Aug 5. In the post, she said three masked men had broken into her family’s home in Rawang early that day.

Thivyah said she called the MERS 999 number to report the incident, but was told to call the Selangor police operations room instead.

Lee said the 999 operator should empathise and have helped the caller as he or she was in a position to do so.

“When a person is in a very distressed state and needs emergency help, it is not proper to bring up irrelevant things… the caller must have panicked at that point.

“They (operators) should have a proper approach to deal with a person in distress.

“I think they need to go for a refresher course, so they will know exactly how to handle the situation and to let the public feel that they are being assisted.”

Lee said it was a matter of attitude, though he said this could be an isolated case.

He advised the public to keep a list of the numbers of police stations or district police headquarters or have it on speed dial.

“Quite naturally, during an emergency situation, the public would call 999 as they may not know the number of the nearest police station.”

He said the public should also get to know the police chief of their respective districts.

Lee said it would help them save time and get help as soon as possible.

He said the numbers were listed on the police force’s official website and urged the public to take note of the information.

“(MERS) 999 is not operated by the police, but by Telekom Malaysia,” he said.

He said when the 999 operators received calls on an emergency, the operator still needed to alert the police or the Fire and Rescue Department.

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