KJ Says MySejahtera 'Check-In' May End Amid Increasing Concerns Around Privacy & Data

There has been a significant drop in MySejahtera's check-in rate at 26% since the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) raised the app's ownership issue and user data safety a week ago.

Cover image via Bernama/New Straits Times

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People may no longer need to 'check-in' via MySejahtera if the COVID-19 situation in the country does not deteriorate in the coming weeks

According to Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin, the government will consider scrapping the requirement for using the app as a standard operating procedure (SOP) for check-ins.

"As we reopen the borders and ease restrictions in the fasting month, we would need to see if there are any drastic changes in the mobility and infection patterns for the next few weeks. If there are no significant fluctuations, then we can drop (MySejahtera check-ins)," New Straits Times quoted Khairy as saying.

Khairy's remarks come amid people's increasing concerns around MySejahtera's ownership issue and user data privacy and safety

While he has stated that all data collected through MySejahtera is safely in the hands of the government, the recent concerns raised by the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) have shaken the people's trust.

The MySejahtera app, contrary to claims, was not developed by the government, but was developed by KPISoft (M) Sdn Bhd under its corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiative.

The app contains a plethora of private information of over 38 million registered users, comprising citizens, non-citizens, and travellers. It knows users' names, phone numbers, NRIC numbers, addresses, medical conditions, vaccination statuses, latest COVID-19 test results, and much more. Additionally, it also possesses users' precise travel history, as the app is said to receive 30 million check-ins.

And amid the revelation that a new company may take over the operation of the national COVID-19 app, there has been a significant drop in MySejahtera's check-in rate at 26%.

A Berita Harian report cited data from the Ministry of Health's (MOH) Github portal, which recorded 24,358,225 check-ins on Friday, 25 March, and it fell to 18,038,569 on Monday, 28 March.

The figure is the lowest recorded in over seven months since August last year.

Meanwhile, the Malaysian Medical Association (MMA) has also urged to stop using MySejahtera for contact tracing as it's no longer useful

Its president Dr Koh Kar Chai said with the high COVID-19 transmissions in the community, the app's scanning features were no longer useful as when they were during the earlier stages of the pandemic.

"The use of MySejahtera allowed contact tracing to be done during the height of the pandemic, a feat that would have been impossible without the MySejahtera app. However, it may have outlived its usefulness as a contact tracing app. With a large number of positive cases within and surrounding us, contact tracing will not be adopted on a wide scale as it will not yield the expected results," he said.

And while MOH is considering stopping using MySejahtera for premises check-in purposes, it plans to keep the application running

During his winding-up speech on an emergency motion on the controversy surrounding the safety of the people's personal data in MySejahtera, Khairy told the Dewan Negara yesterday that all data and information obtained using the application are wholly-owned by the Malaysian government.

"MySejahtera has helped us a lot in managing the pandemic. MOH is of the view that there is a need to continue this app for its existing functions, even after the country shifts into the endemic phase," he said.

"MySejahtera database is among the largest in the world and, thus, makes it very important for us to continue using MySejahtera as an application. Even the MMA has suggested this app be used as a pioneer to (having our own) electronic medical records, which is something that MOH is looking into. We can discontinue the MySejahtera check-in function, but we can also pivot it to other functions."

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