Hotline records 500% spike in calls during MCO period

THE Talian Kasih hotline saw a 500% increase in calls during the movement control order (MCO) period enforced from March 18.

Women, Family and Community Development Minister Datuk Seri Rina Harun said that over the month of April, 20,305 calls were received.

“Comparatively, on average calls received before the MCO numbered about 4,000 every month,” she said during her winding up address.

Earlier, several lawmakers questioned Rina why the Talian Kasih hotline was temporarily suspended for two weeks at the start of the MCO.

In maintaining that the hotline was operating round the clock, seven days a week during the MCO period, she said the total number of calls received so far was 62,999.

“Of this, 59,359 or 96% of the calls were regarding the free food basket distributed by the Welfare Department for the needy,” she added.

Kasthuri Patto (PH-Batu Kawan) claimed that the Talian Kasih hotline underwent two weeks of inactivity during the initial phase of the MCO, with many MPs and activists having taken to social media over the issue.

“Maybe the minister has forgotten that there was no Talian Kasih hotline during the MCO period and when people called 15999 (Talian Kasih), they were diverted to 999,” she said.

In response, Rina said the Talian Kasih hotline was only temporarily suspended to allow the National Security Council to streamline all phone enquiries during the MCO period into a single number.

“It wasn’t closed for as long as two weeks.

“I remember this because I was at the ministry to ensure that Talian Kasih was reopened immediately,” she added.

On a separate issue, Rina said the government would implement a national strategic plan to address the causes of underage marriages.

She said a steering committee will be formed to coordinate the implementation of a five-year plan from 2020 to 2025.

“This committee will also serve as a platform for agencies involved to give their feedback on the issues and challenges,” she said.
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