KUCHING: There has been an urgent need to improve the National Urgent Response (Nur) alert system to ensure it spreads information quickly and as fast as possible to help trace missing children (below 12 years of age).
Bandar Kuching Member of Parliament (MP) Dr Kelvin Yii said this would help law enforcement agencies in carrying out investigations and lead to fast arrests or high chances of a missing child being saved.
He said the four-year-old boy who went missing from a house in Taman Riverview, Bintawa since Monday, was a serious matter; hence, the alert should have been sent or spread quickly and widely.
“However, the accessibility of this Nur alert is very limited and from this case alone, I have double checked with multiple people that live in the area and they themselves have not received any of such alerts.
“This is something serious and I am disappointed that the alert and awareness of the missing child is not widespread even among the residents and public of that area,” he said in a statement today.
“Such alerts and information are necessary for yielding a quick public response, and enable the people to help to keep a lookout for the missing child,” he said.
Dr Yii said according to the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC), cellular users must first go through some procedures and choose to accept the Nur alert before it could be sent.
He said all these procedures create barriers and limit the efficiency and effectiveness of the alert.
“Thus, there must be a significant improvement to this alert system as we cannot rely solely on the law enforcement officers sticking “missing person” posters around the banks and public places. We need to adopt technology to ensure the alert is quick and widespread,” he added.
Yii suggested having a single platform where all such important information can be accessed directly not just by different enforcement agencies, but also by shopping malls, banks, and elected representatives’ office, and cinemas, members of the public and among others.
He said any obstacles to obtaining such an alert, especially all kinds of confusing consent procedures should be removed.
“Once such information is available (at the particular platform) it can be spread on all social platforms including Facebook, Instagram, Telegram, Whatsapp and even SMS/MMS of the residents in the surrounding areas.
“I strongly believe the public will understand and be supportive to receive such an alert on their phone rather than all kinds of unnecessary spam and government propaganda on their phones especially when they can participate to save a child’s life,” he added.
Yesterday, the missing boy’s mother, Dynasty Chang, accompanied by the Sarawak United Peoples’ Party (SUPP) Youth secretary-general Milton Foo – have appealed to the public to help to search for her missing son.
Eric Chang, or nickname ‘Duck Duck’ was reported missing from a house at Lorong 2, Taman Riverview and a police report was lodged on the same day.
Foo said the boy was last seen wearing a dark blue t-shirt with black short pants, about 100cm tall.
Foo said the child’s mother had to undergo a medical procedure while the father was still recovering from an accident; hence, he was unfit to take care of the child. Thus, the family had decided to send the child to the friend’s house last month.
He urged the public not to speculate on the incident and allow the police to conduct investigation thoroughly.
Meanwhile, Kuching police chief ACP Ahsmon Bajah has confirmed the case, adding that the case is being investigated under Section 31 of the Child Act 2001 against the mother’s friend.