PETALING JAYA: The decision of the Women and Family Development Ministry to suspend its Talian Kasih hotline during the movement control order has come under fire from women and child rights activists.
“How can Talian Kasih 15999 be suspended at a time when women and children may need help the most?” said Sisters in Islam executive director Rozana Isa (pic).
“When NGOs like the Women's Aid Organisation, Women's Centre for Change (WCC) in Penang and others can continue their services, can't Talian Kasih continue even for a few hours a day?” she added.
WCC programme manager Karen Lai also questioned the ministry's decision to suspend the service at a “critical time”.
“Violence against women and children often takes place at home and with the restricted movement order in place, it makes things more difficult for women and children who are vulnerable to violence,” she said.
WCC executive director Loh Cheng Kooi agreed, adding that, “Even with limited resources, women and children's NGOs like WCC are still running our services, with our social workers working from home”.
Earlier Wednesday (March 18), the ministry put up notices on its social media channels saying that the hotline service would be suspended from March 18-31 due to the movement control order.
The posts were taken down shortly after, following a backlash from activists and members of the public.
As of 3.20pm, the hotline was still inactive, with a recorded message informing callers of the suspension.
The Star has reached out to the ministry.