Police Quiz Galen Chief Over MySejahtera Tweet

Galen Centre for Health and Social Policy head Azrul Mohd Khalib notes that MOH has repeatedly assured Malaysians of protecting the privacy of users’ data on MySejahtera.

KUALA LUMPUR, July 1 — Police called in Galen Centre for Health and Social Policy’s chief executive Azrul Mohd Khalib for questioning today, following a complaint filed last year against his tweet expressing concern on the use of MySejahtera data in law enforcement.

Azrul maintained a commitment to raising concerns related to the use, protection and security of personal and medical data, especially during the Covid-19 public health emergency.

“The government last year made a strong commitment to reassure the Malaysian public that their privacy, personal data protection and security concerns were unfounded, that they could be trusted in keeping our data safe and that the use of MySejahtera would be limited.

“It was specifically mentioned that the data collected by MySejahtera would be treated as confidential medical data under the Medical Act 1971,” he said in a statement, adding that authorities should be kept on their toes and held to the highest standards and integrity.

On November 12 last year, Sepang District Disaster Management Committee chairperson Mohamad Zain A Hamid reportedly said that the police would utilise MySejahtera registrations to track down 400 residents of Medan 88, Bandar Baru Salak Tinggi, Sepang. The area was under an enhanced Movement Control Order from November 12 to 25.

Azrul’s alleged tweet on November 13 called such use of MySejahtera data an abuse, and encouraged people to adopt a healthy suspicion and be protective of their personal data.

“We are reminded that although the federal government is exempted from compliance to the Personal Data Protection Act 2010, the Ministry of Health (MOH) has repeatedly assured Malaysians that it would protect the privacy of users’ data on MySejahtera,” he said.

Azrul is being investigated under Section 233 of the Communications and Multimedia Act 1998 and Section 505(b) of the Penal Code on statements conducing to public mischief.

He said while the development of MySejahtera was well-intentioned, the mobile app is not impervious to the vulnerabilities, limitations, and the potential for misuse which has affected similar Covid-19 related applications in other countries.

“Constant vigilance is needed, not just of Covid-19 but also of the measures which are being utilised in this pandemic,” he said.

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