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Free phone emergency service for children

SHAH ALAM, 19 May 2009: Malaysia will launch Childline Malaysia, a 24-hour free phone emergency outreach service for children in need of care and protection in October this year, Women, Family and Community Development Minister Senator Datuk Seri Shahrizat Abdul Jalil said today.

She said the service would provide emergency assistance to children and then refer them to other organisations for long-term rehabilitation if necessary through partnership with various agencies.

“The move to create the service was initiated by a group of concerned citizens from various backgrounds after a series of cases involving cruelty against children in the last two years,” Shahrizat told reporters after officiating at the first Stakeholders Brainstorming Meeting for Childline Malaysia in conjunction with International Child Helpline Day 2009 near here.

Among the high-profile cases reported in Malaysia involving children were the murder of eight-year-old Nurin Jazlin Jazimin, who disappeared after she went to a night market in Section 1, Wangsa Maju, Kuala Lumpur in 2007 and Sharlinie Mohd Nashar, five, who was reported missing early last year after playing with her elder sister at a playground near her house in Taman Medan, Selangor. Both the cases are yet to be resolved.

Shahrizat said she would work with the 999 Emergency Call Centre soon to integrate the Childline Malaysia service.

“Childline Malaysia will be a privately funded project in collaboration with the ministry, non-governmental organisations, the private sector, Childline International and Unicef,” she said, adding that the ministry would be one of the stakeholders of the project.

Meanwhile, Chairperson of Childline Malaysia, Sabri Abdul Rahman, said Childline Malaysia in its first phase was expected to provide free phone service in the Klang Valley by October this year.

“Childline Malaysia aims to reach out to every child in need of care and protection by responding to calls and emergencies received,” he said.

Earlier, Shahrizat received a cheque for RM1 million from the Malaysian Children Television Programme Foundation to fund the Childline Malaysia project. — Bernama

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