PUTRAJAYA – The Talian Kasih hotline 15999 regained much public attention since the third wave of COVID-19 began in September, with the increase to 12,240 calls last month from 6,770 recorded earlier.
Women, Family and Community Development Minister, Datuk Seri Rina Mohd Harun said the hotline received the highest number of calls in April with 55,129 because at that time, many people panicked with the COVID-19 situation that had just hit the country.
She said of the total calls (in April), 23,767 were received via phone and 31,362 through WhatsApp.
“Now, there is a slight increase compared to the first wave of COVID-19, mostly complaints or queries on current issues, loan repayment moratorium, financial issues, children’s needs and ways to generate income as some couples have lost their jobs.”
She told this to reporters after launching the Kembara Prihatin Negara 2020 programme aimed at helping people affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, besides disseminating information on the services and incentives implemented by the government.
Asked on the difficulties faced by Sabahans in getting assistance including food baskets in the Enhanced Movement Control Order (EMCO) areas, Rina said the aid was distributed based on the applications and for the needy.
She said the Social Welfare Department would check on the complaints received from time to time, adding that many provisions from the federal and state governments had been channelled to those affected by the pandemic.
On the Kembara Prihatin Negara programme, she said it was the ministry’s initiative of going down to the ground in 108 districts across the country in providing assistance and services, targeting one million people and focusing on public areas such as markets, business complexes, local community centres, parks, housing estates and people’s housing projects.
She said the programme was a strategic collaboration between her ministry and the Communications and Multimedia Ministry, other government agencies, corporate companies and non-governmental organisations.