PETALING JAYA: “If there’s something strange in your neighbourhood, who you gonna call?”The above is a line from a song featured in a popular 1980s movie but although it was a comedy, the question is apt in any emergency situation.
There was confusion several months ago when a robbery victim shared on Facebook that she was told to contact the police operations room instead of 999.
Selangor police chief Comm Datuk Noor Azam Jamaludin (pic), however, has made it clear that the public should call 999 in an emergency.
They can also use their mobile phones to call 112, which will be redirected to the 999 hotline or the Malaysian Emergency Response Services (MERS 999).
“Any calls to 999 concerning police matters will be transferred to the relevant bilik gerakan (operations room).
“The bilik gerakan will then dispatch police personnel to the crime scene, ” he said in a recent interview.
Five emergency agencies are linked directly to MERS 999 – the police, the Health Ministry for medical emergencies, Fire and Rescue Department, Malaysia Civil Defence Force and Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency.
“In emergencies or crime-related incidents, the public can call 999, ” said Comm Noor Azam.
However, he said that the public should also have the number of the relevant bilik gerakan as well.
“It wouldn’t hurt to have the number of the nearest bilik gerakan in an area or district.
“It will give you more options in case of emergencies, ” he added.
Comm Noor Azam was asked about the case of trainer and consultant Thivyah Veelurajan who shared her ordeal when three masked men broke into her place at 2.30am on Aug 5.
Several calls were made to 999 and apparently, the police arrived after almost an hour later.
She was told that she should have called the police’s bilik gerakan instead.
Comm Noor Azam said disciplinary action had been taken against the personnel involved.
“I was told that the Selangor JIPS (Integrity and Standard Compliance Department) has investigated and taken action against them.
“We always strive to serve and protect the public to the best of our ability, ” he added.
Comm Noor Azam said the response time for the police to arrive at any emergency or crime scene is 15 minutes.
When contacted, Thivyah said the response time to emergencies should be looked into.
“We should also be told when we can expect help to arrive. As it is, the caller is troubled and needs to be informed, ” she said.
Looking back now, she wished help could have come sooner. “Immediate action should have been taken. It isn’t as though we didn’t give them the details. Our second call to 999, made by my sister, clearly told them our situation all over again, ” she said.