KUALA LUMPUR, March 18 — Women, Family and Community Development Minister Datuk Seri Rina Harun said the Talian Kasih hotline will no longer be suspended for the nationwide shutdown after the planned move drew criticism from fellow lawmakers.
The 24-hour hotline was to have halted operations along with other non-essential government services during the restriction of movement order to contain the coronavirus disease from today until March 31.
However, former deputy women, family and community development minister Hannah Yeoh and Umno’s Datuk Seri Azalina Othman Said told Rina to reconsider this.
“After taking into consideration the needs of the women, children, disabled, and the senior citizens, the government has agreed that the existing Talian Kasih, coordinated by the ministry of women, family, and community development, will remain open as usual.
“The Talian Kasih line will be continued with its existing intentions, which is to receive complaints related to women, families, and the community, and to specifically handle emergency situations related to welfare or the community,” the minister said in a statement.
She added that any other information related to the Covid-19 outbreak was available at the National Security Council’s (NSC) helpline at 03-88882010.
Malay Mail verified that the Talian Kasih operators have resumed manning the 15999 hotline.
Earlier, Rina’s predecessor at the ministry, former deputy prime minister Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail, said the suspension would leave vulnerable groups with one fewer avenue for aid during the crucial two-week nationwide shutdown.
Dr Wan Azizah and Yeoh both pointed out that the restriction of movement order did not mean there was no danger of children being abducted or going missing, or that domestic abuse would somehow stop.
Yeoh went further by suggesting that the lack of women on the National Security Council could be why the matters did not receive proper consideration before it was suspended with other government services.
A former minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Azalina also went on Twitter to question the move to suspend the toll-free hotline.