Befrienders KL’s turn to call for help

PETALING JAYA: Phones at Befrienders KL, whose centre in Jalan Templer here, may go unmanned for the first time in almost 50 years due to the stricter enforcement of the movement control order (MCO).

National Council of Befrienders Malaysia president Esther Teo said the organisation was appealing to authorities, particularly the police, to allow volunteers to take calls from their centre.

She said that police in Johor and Seremban gave Befrienders the green light to continue operating their respective centres but that was not the case with Befrienders KL.

“No approval was given as the centre is located in the Petaling district, which is a hot zone for Covid-19, ” she told The Star yesterday.She said about 165 volunteers, who worked three-hour shifts at the 24-hour centre, would be affected.

“We provide an essential service for people who need to talk especially after having to adjust their lives (due to the MCO).

“The numbers of calls for help will surely increase now that the MCO has been extended for two more weeks, ” she said.

She said calls to Befrienders KL increased from about 15 to 20 a day to about 80 during the MCO period beginning on March 18.

“We provide a breath of fresh air and relief for those feeling anxious, ” she said.

As a back-up, she said Befrienders KL were working on how to provide 24-hour online counselling via Skype.

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