KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 4 – The Ministry of Health (MOH) is closing in on a deal to take full control of MySejahtera in a bid to put broad concerns over the ownership and security of the health app to rest.
Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin said the parties involved will soon sign a contract to ensure that the entire MySejahtera app, including its data, is owned by the government. Khairy alluded to the Parliament’s Public Accounts Committee (PAC) latest report on MySejahtera which recommended full control by the government over the health app.
“The most important recommendation is that the government must have full ownership of the app which is what has already been done, especially with the contract to be signed.
“There will no longer be any doubt about the ownership of the app and the data – they are all owned by the Malaysian government and I have made sure that this is resolved before I leave my position at the Health Ministry,” Khairy told reporters in Putrajaya today.
Khairy, however, did not elaborate on the terms of the contract, including the takeover cost.
According to the PAC’s report tabled in Parliament today, the Cabinet had earlier approved an allocation of RM196 million to pay for MySejahtera services over a two-year period from April 1, 2021, until March 31, 2023.
The contract was supposed to be awarded to MySJ Sdn Bhd – the private company operating the MySejahtera app – after the government’s one-year corporate social responsibility (CSR) deal with MySejahtera developer Entomo Malaysia Sdn Bhd (formerly KPISoft Malaysia Sdn Bhd) lapsed on March 31, 2021.
Despite Cabinet’s approval of the allocation, the amount was not finalised as negotiations between the government and MySJ were ongoing at the time. Khairy had pointed out, as reflected in the report, that the RM196 million ceiling was less than the amount sought by Entomo Malaysia and MySJ at over RM300 million.
It is unclear if the takeover deal will still hold to the cap authorised by the Cabinet last year.
Health secretary-general Harjeet Singh, without disclosing the actual price ceiling, said that the price cap for MySejahtera’s procurement takes into consideration the two-year period from March 1, 2022, until April 1, 2023, following the initial CSR deal.
He said the ceiling price is determined through a study and functional point analysis (FPA) method that was carried out by MAMPU.
Negotiations between the government and MySJ Sdn Bhd are for services to develop and maintain 18 modules that have been implemented by the company and do not include the three CSR service modules.
“For future services, the MOH is currently working to collaborate with other app developers for the development of other features in MySejahtera,” Harjeet said, adding that efforts to register the intellectual property (IP) for MySejahtera began earlier in March. The MyIPO copyright certificate for MySejahtera was acquired on August 2.
Harjeet said the upcoming agreement on MySejahtera will “clearly state” that no party will be allowed to use MySejahtera data as it is fully owned by the Health Ministry.
He said the MOH is in the process of appointing an independent consultant to look into security issues that may threaten MySejahtera’s data integrity. Security reports will be issued from time to time and will be deliberated by the MySejahtera Technical Committee.
Harjeet also announced that MySejahtera will be placed under the newly formed Digital Public Health Division under MOH. “This will allow MySejahtera operations to be more organised as human resources with certain skills can serve in this section,” he said.
Khairy highlighted the PAC’s recommendation for the continued use of the MySejahtera app as a public health tool, describing it as an “endorsement” from the committee.
“Although there are many complaints about legacy issues that happened before MOH took over the app – issues with the initial appointment and so on – what the ministry has worked on since MySejahtera was transferred to MOH from the National Security Council (MKN), is to ensure that all these issues are resolved – ownership, data, and safety – and for MySejahtera to be used as a public health platform.
“And over the last few months, I think many non-Covid features have been added – organs and blood donations, health check details, for example – so this is the public health legacy that has clearly been endorsed by the PAC, the use of MySejahtera as a public health tool,” Khairy said.
Dr Mahesh Appannan, head of data at MOH’s Crisis Preparedness and Response Centre (CPRC), welcomed the PAC’s recommendation for MySejahtera to be a public health device.
“This is what we have done with several public health modules such as digitisation of immunisation programmes, national screening, and others,” Dr Mahesh said on Twitter.
He further affirmed that the MOH is in agreement with PAC’s view that the government should own the MySejahtera application completely.
“We also agree with PAC’s view that the government should own the MySejahtera application completely. @khairykj has stated this several times before. This will all become clear when the agreement is signed,” Dr Mahesh said.