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Calls intensify for Sabah-based 999 emergency call centre

THE STAR – Calls for Sabah to have an emergency call centre based in the state are intensifying following an incident where a man tragically died after suffering a heart attack as paramedics only responded an hour after a call was made.

Parti Warisan secretary-general Datuk Loretto Padua said this could have been averted if the state had its own Malaysian Emergency Response Services (MERS-999) call centre, negating the need for calls to be routed to Kuala Lumpur first. Loretto said an emergency call centre in Sabah would significantly reduce the chances of responders being confused about the location as well as allow speedy follow-up action for those in need.

He said a fire that killed a family of four in Kampong Hungab in Penampang near Kota Kinabalu in September 2021 should have been an eye-opener for the federal and Sabah governments.

In the 2021 incident, firemen were late to respond to the scene after a call was made to the 999 number. On Wednesday, Lew Kok Fai, 54, from Ipoh, suffered a heart attack in his car in Kolombong and eventually died as paramedics only arrived an hour after a 999 emergency call was made.

“Unfortunately, the same issue happened again because the MERS – 999 call centre is in Kuala Lumpur,” Loretto said in a statement yesterday.

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