tech

Is MySejahtera Being Taken Over By A Private Company? Here Are 7 Things You Need To Know

Malaysians are worried that their data will be misused as the shareholders of the company that are in direct negotiations with the government are prominent businessmen from EcoWorld, Sapura Energy, and Sime Darby.

Cover image via Asyraf Hamzah/New Straits Times & Bernama via theSundaily

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People on the Internet have started a movement to #StopUsingMySejahtera after it was revealed that a new company may take over the operation of the national COVID-19 app

MySejahtera — which was released on 26 March 2020, according to information on the Google Play Store — is actually not developed by the government even though most of the COVID-19 contact tracing and vaccination appointments are made through the app.

The app contains 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 so much more.

Additionally, it also possesses users' precise travel history, as the app is said to receive 30 million check-ins and sends out up to 300,000 casual contact notifications on average daily.

With the possible change of company managing the app, many Malaysians fear that their data will be abused for commercialisation purposes, among other concerns.

To keep you up to speed, here are seven things you need to know about the issue:

1. The app was developed by KPISoft (M) Sdn Bhd for free under its corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiative

Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin.

Image via Khairy Jamaluddin

According to a statement by Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin published yesterday, 27 March, the government did not make a single payment to KPISoft (M) Sdn Bhd, which developed the MySejahtera application throughout its usage period between 27 March 2020 and 31 March 2021.

"This was based on the company's decision to offer the application to the government for one year, without any charge, based on its CSR principle," said Khairy.

It is said that the app has been utilised through the 'software as a service' approach, reducing the turnaround time needed for the government to develop the app at the start of the global health crisis.

Khairy said the app is a stable and dynamic platform, which allows features to be enhanced to keep up with the development of the COVID-19 pandemic in the country.

Parliament's Public Accounts Committee (PAC) revealed that MySejahtera was actually developed without a contract with KPISoft, reported CodeBlue.

In September last year, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob said the government had decided to pay for MySejahtera services from 1 April 2021, when the agreement lapsed, reported The Star.

2. The Cabinet has approved, in principle, direct negotiations to appoint a new company, MySJ Sdn Bhd, to take over the app

According to a Hansard that details the meeting between PAC and senior officers from the Ministry of Finance (MOF), the Ministry of Health (MOH), and the Ministry of Science, Technology, and Innovation (MOSTI) on 8 March, MOF had given MOH the approval to conduct direct negotiations with MySJ Sdn Bhd.

For now, the new company taking over the app is subject to due diligence procedures under the purview of MOH, as the ministry has to verify whether it is a 'valid' party that had developed the MySejahtera system.

CodeBlue quoted MOH deputy secretary-general (management) Harjeet Singh Hardev Singh as saying that the ministry has yet to negotiate with MySJ, as it has only recently received approval from MOF.

The meeting transcript showed that MOF government procurement division deputy secretary Rosni Mohd Yusoff and Harjeet were confused about MySJ, with the latter thinking the company was just a new name for KPISoft.

But upon a quick check by the staff of PAC chairman Wong Kah Woh, it was learnt that KPISoft and MySJ are two different companies.

KPISoft changed its name to Entomo Malaysia Sdn Bhd in May 2020, while MySJ was incorporated in September 2020. Both companies have the same registered address at Wisma Adiss Udarama Complex in Kuala Lumpur, reported CodeBlue.

3. The directors and shareholders of MySJ are prominent businessmen in Malaysia

Eco World Development Group Bhd executive chairman Liew Kee Sin (left) and executive director and chief financial officer Heah Kok Boon.

Image via Tatler Asia

The problem starts to get complicated when the names of MySJ's directors and shareholders are revealed.

CodeBlue sighted the Companies Commission of Malaysia (SSM) records of the company.

MySJ is backed by individuals as follows:
Eco World Development Group Bhd executive chairman Liew Kee Sin and executive director and chief financial officer Heah Kok Boon
Sapura Energy Bhd founder and former chief executive officer Shahril Shamsuddin
Sime Darby Plantation Bhd non-executive chairman Megat Najmuddin Megat Khas, who is also Bersatu disciplinary board chairman
KPISoft founders and shareholders Raveenderen Ramamoothie and Anuar Rozhan

All of them hold RM35,528,732 share capital of MySJ through newly incorporated companies.

Below are the companies backing MySJ and their respective directors and shareholders:
– Revolusi Asia Sdn Bhd (incorporated on 17 September 2020): Shahril, Raveenderen, Anuar, and Naveen Pralhad Deshpande
– Hasrat Budi Sdn Bhd (incorporated on 23 August 2021): Liew and Heah
– P2 Asset Management Sdn Bhd (incorporated on 3 November 2020): Yap Zi Jing, Johnathan Jaya-Sudhir, and Gregory Jaya-Sudhir
– An individual named Ganesan Shanmugam

4. Netizens are boycotting MySejahtera after knowing a private entity may take over the app

New Straits Times, citing netizens' reactions to the news, reported that the public is upset about the change of MySejahtera's 'ownership'.

"Is MySejahtera turning into MySpy?" questioned a person, while another added, "Hard to believe that private companies have altruistic intentions — likely to be the first step to commercialisation."

"Your private information should be in neither the government's nor the private sector's purview without your consent. The MySejahtera app is a travesty of basic human rights. #StopUsingMySejahtera," tweeted a netizen.

The English daily reported that the #StopUsingMySejahtera hashtag gained traction on social media over the weekend.

5. Anwar Ibrahim is questioning MySJ's takeover when two of the shareholders are from KPISoft

Opposition leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim noted that 71.2% of MySJ's shares are owned by Raveenderen and Anuar, and said it would be dishonest to claim that there is no link between KPISoft and MySJ, reported Free Malaysia Today.

The PKR president said the link between the two companies should be investigated.

Additionally, he also said the government must come clean as to why the application was sold to a private firm instead of allowing it to remain under the purview of MOH.

Questions on why the deal is being made through direct negotiations instead of open tender must also be addressed.

"Why was MySJ the only company that was considered for the takeover? What is the scope of its operations and [its] expertise?" asked the Opposition leader.

"And can MOH ensure the data that has been collected via the app will not be abused by a third party, including MySJ?"

Anwar also wanted to know whether MySJ will ensure that the data shared by Malaysians through the app would not be used for marketing purposes and the development of products.

6. PAC chairman is against MySJ taking over the app through direct negotiations

PAC chairman Wong Kah Woh.

Image via Parimen Malaysia via Malaysiakini

Wong, who is also the Ipoh Timur lawmaker, said the matter is complicated because KPISoft bypassed the normal procurement process to take on the MySejahtera project as it was willing to work without taking any payment, reported CodeBlue.

"So now here, the problem is that when this contract was first given to KPISoft. Now suddenly another company comes in to take over the whole application; is it appropriate and necessary for the Cabinet to solely appoint MySJ through direct negotiation?" Wong questioned.

"So, that is a very big question. When we are talking about, we are going to pay — I mean pay for MySejahtera for a certain period of time — this could represent a huge contract."

The DAP politician acknowledged that MOH will be conducting due diligence, but the ministry should have followed stipulated procurement procedures — whether it is by direct negotiations with approval from MOF or based on skill or contract value via open tender or quotations.

"Please bear in mind the procurement procedure needs to be [strictly] adhered to. And of course, KPISoft, from day one, if they are doing it as a CSR, they shouldn't be charging. If they are charging and if we allow them to charge, they shouldn't be selling the MySejahtera system to another company," he explained.

"And now the government is telling us, look we are getting another company to manage, we are going to go by direct negotiations and so on. Of course, everyone in the business wants to make money, yes, but what kind of process that we need to go through, that is something very, very important in the eyes of PAC."

Wong said if MySJ wants to get the project, it should not have gone through the "backdoor" and that the government should not have allowed KPISoft to sell the app to MySJ so that the latter can get the business and contract.

7. Following the controversy, MOH has refuted that MySejahtera is being sold to a private entity

Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin.

Image via Shafwan Zaidon/Malay Mail

On 26 November last year, Khairy said the government decided that MySejahtera will be the government's property and appointed his ministry as the main owner of the application for the country's public health management.

According to him, MOH has established a Price Negotiation Committee, comprising members from all stakeholder agencies, to negotiate procurement and management of the application with the company for two years, in line with the government's procurement procedures.

"MOF, subsequently, through a letter on 28 February 2022, approved MOH's application to procure the MySejahtera application," he said in a statement yesterday.

"The negotiation process has begun and MOH will ensure due diligence is conducted to preserve the government's interest."

He assured that MySejahtera's data is solely managed by MOH since the pandemic began, and not even other government or private agencies have access to users' sensitive information.

"The confidentiality of public data is guaranteed and the ministry will always ensure that this aspect is never compromised," said the Rembau lawmaker.

Below is MOH's full statement on the issue:

MySejahtera has been frequently updated to keep up with the changes during the COVID-19 pandemic: