Continuing vital services

James Kon

A memorandum of understanding (MoU) for the operation and maintenance of the National Call Centre for the Child Helpline 121 and Welfare Helpline 141 was signed between the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports (MCYS), Imagine Sdn Bhd and Comquest Sdn Bhd yesterday at Hassanal Bolkiah National Stadium.

Permanent Secretary (Community and Culture) at the MCYS Hajah Nor Ashikin binti Haji Johari represented the ministry while imagine Chief Executive Officer Suzannawati binti Haji Suharju and Comquest General Manager Guarav Shrotriya represented their companies for the MoU signing, witnessed by Minister of Culture, Youth and Sports Major General (Rtd) Dato Paduka Seri Haji Aminuddin Ihsan bin Pehin Orang Kaya Saiful Mulok Dato Seri Paduka Haji Abidin.

Hajah Nor Ashikin said the MoU was a continuation of the memorandum signed in October 2019 between the MCYS and TelBru, now known as imagine. The collaboration saw the launch of Child Helpline 121 and the provision of a call centre for the Community Development Department (JAPEM).

Since its establishment two years ago, it has had a significant impact in improving the quality of services for the department and ministry, particularly for the less fortunate who need assistance to channel and share inquiries and complaints.

The Child Helpline 121 initiative also known as Talian ANAK 121 (Anak Negara Aset Kitani) with the motto Kami Mendangar is in line with the strategy and commitment to improve the quality and efficiency of social services for children in the country.

ABOVE & BELOW: Minister of Culture, Youth and Sports Major General (Rtd) Dato Paduka Seri Haji Aminuddin Ihsan bin Pehin Orang Kaya Saiful Mulok Dato Seri Paduka Haji Abidin, Permanent Secretary (Community and Culture) at the MCYS Hajah Nor Ashikin binti Haji Johari and company representatives during an MoU signing ceremony at the Hassanal Bolkiah National Stadium. PHOTOS: MCYS

As of November, the helpline has received a total of 249 calls, of which 99 involve children’s welfare.

Meanwhile, the Welfare helpline 141 plays a role as an official platform provided by the government to heighten awareness for public complaints, as well as help ensure that assistance can be provided efficiently.

More than 50 per cent of the calls received were inquiries on the application procedure for the National Welfare System (SKN).

In November, the number of calls increased to almost 24,000 compared to 15,381 calls in 2020.

Amid the current COVID-19 pandemic, the Welfare Helpline 141 also serves as a channel for the public to apply for food ration assistance, accounting for almost 17 per cent of calls.

Both helplines are toll-free and operate 24 hours at JAPEM’s call centre, and information received through both lines are kept confidential.