By now the whole nation would have probably heard about Nora Anne Quoirin and her tragic ending but with such media clamour surrounding the Irish teen’s case, there seems to be another probably similar tragedy in the same week with 14-year-old Chan Jiah Huih reported missing from her home in Paroi, Negeri Sembilan while another child, Dineswary Prem Kumar reported missing a week before that.
Statistically, 482 children under 12 were reported missing between 2012 to 2017 with an average of four children missing every day in the country with Johor recording the highest number of missing children (143) followed by Kuala Lumpur (115) and Sabah (99). It became so crucial that PDRM has even dedicated a special Missing Children website to publish and receive all data related to children and their well-being on this matter. With a dedicated female officer in charge of each state, the platform operated by the D11 (Sexual / Domestic Violence / Child Abuse Investigation) Division is quite handy, updating to the minute.
The worrying facts and figures, however, do not worry most of us much, simply because it happened to someone else.
Saturated by TV shows and Hollywood productions, we often feel distanced from such tragedies. We keep telling ourselves that no one we know would go missing, let alone fall to such grim demise. We live in denial knowing that ill fates will only fall upon those who are careless enough to spot one.
But are we truly ready if a child or a loved one we know actually goes missing? Do you know what to do if someone you know goes missing? Here’s what you should do.
1) BE VIGILANT
Be observant to your surroundings, watch what goes on around you. Take pro-active measures to watch not only yours but other children as well. Acts like these wary preying eyes.
And if you think your child is missing, contact the local authorities immediately and do not wait for the 24-hour myth to report a missing person. According to the US National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC), the first 48 hours after a child has gone missing are the most critical. A lot could happen in two days, mind you.
2) KEEP AN EYE OUT
There’s no such thing as being too careful. Be aware of your situation, especially in popular children-friendly locations like playgrounds, malls and even theme parks.
If you spot some suspicious activities, always remember details like car plates, vehicle colour, date and time. Remember clothing, hair colour, height and figure. Besides its own calculated investigation, PDRM also relies on tip-offs from the public.
3) COMPLY WITH THE COPS
If you find yourself a witness to any crime committed towards a child, always be ready and available to cooperate with the police. Your compliance may sometimes be an uncomfortable experience but it’s worth the trouble knowing every little information you delivered produces a greater chance of saving a life.
Not sure who to talk to?
Easy – if it involves children, the D11 unit is the department in charge. You may either contact your local police station or call the D11 in Bukit Aman directly at 0322666313 (email to email@example.com).
4) DON’T TALK TRASH
Don’t assume something you don’t know. Unless you have direct information on any missing child case, do not spread baseless rumours that will not only hurt those involved but also misguide the public and probably the official investigation.
Legally, the act of spreading false news may also land you in the hot soup under Section 233 of the Communications and Multimedia Act 1998 where The Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) may charge individuals spreading fake news within 24 hours after an offence is committed via social media!
5) SPREAD TRUTH INSTEAD
Help the community, be a good citizen. Urge those around you to sign up for NUR Alert. Here’s how:
For CELCOM users, call 23132 to sign up.
For MAXIS users, just type YA and send to 26872.
For DIGI customers, send DAFTAR NUR to 2000.
For UMOBILE users, send ON NUR to 28282.
Alternatively, you may also call Talian NUR hotline at 15999.
But what’s NUR Alert, you may ask. Read below.
Under the National Child Protection Policy and Action Plan (a policy created by Malaysia in acknowledgement of the United Nations Convention for the Rights of Children), NUR Alert aims to have every child (aged 12 years and below) to be protected from exploitation, violence and neglect through ALERTS that are sent out to enforcement, media and broadcasting agencies.
It’s an emergency early warning system of sorts, based of the successful AMBER Alert program in the United States, named after the kidnapping and murder of 9-year-old Amber Hagerman (in Arlington, Texas) back in 1996.
NUR Alert is location-based therefore it targets more alerts on related geo-location while less to unrelated areas. Although NUR is an acronym for National Urgent Response, the horrific tragedy behind the name tells a deeper story – Initially named NURIN Alert (National Urgent Response Information Network), the system was initiated in the name of Nurin Jazlin, the beautiful 8-year-old girl who was kidnapped, raped, tortured and murdered back in 2007.