GERAKAN vice president Datuk Baljit Singh has questioned if it was time for the country to do away with COVID-19 contact tracing via MySejahtera now that Malaysia is entering the endemic phase of COVID-19.
The fact that news reports have been trending that a private firm was buying over the application, he said that the silence from the Government’s end on the matter is even more disturbing.
According to Baljit, the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) during a hearing last Thursday (March 24) had found that private firm My SJ Sdn Bhd was appointed by the Health Ministry through direct negotiation after the Cabinet agreed to relinquish control of the application on Nov 26, 2021.
However, there is no statement forthcoming from the Government on the preservation of data privacy for all Malaysians and visitors, he noted.
“Are we waiting for a breach in data privacy to occur before everyone scrambles with lame statements on this matter?” Baljit was quoted as saying by New Straits Times.
“Just like our neighbour Singapore’s ‘TraceTogether’ application which was aimed at stopping the spread of COVID-19 through community-driven contact tracing, MySejahtera may have been also useful during the height of the pandemic.”
Baljit further explained that the digital system which was implemented by the Singapore Government was developed by the Government Technology Agency of Singapore in collaboration with the country’s health authorities.
“Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin must come clean on the sale of our COVID-19 contact tracing digital application and assure all Malaysians that their private data is secure and not about to be exploited by third parties.”
Baljit went on to highlight that what was equally important was for the MySejahtera glitches to be addressed to avoid confusing and distressing the public.
“In the near future Malaysians will not be fooled again and are more likely to not declare their health status and other vital data,” he remarked.
Over the weekend netizens had called for a boycott of MySejahtera on Twitter using the hashtag #StopUsingMySejahtera with many questioning the need to continue using MySejahtera and placing their privacy under the scrutiny of a private entity.
However, in a statement yesterday (March 27), Khairy has refuted claims that the Government has sold the MySejahtera application to a private entity.
He said the Government had already decided in November last year that the MySejahtera would be the government’s property and appointed the Health Ministry as the main owner of the application for the country’s public health management.
He assured that the MySejahtera data has always been under the Health Ministry’s purview since the app was rolled out and subject to procedures set by the Health Ministry, under the Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases Act 1988, Medical Act 1971 and international guidelines.
Khairy also stressed that the confidentiality of public data is guaranteed and the ministry will always ensure that this aspect is never compromised. – March 28, 2022