PM urges public to download these 3 apps on their smartphones as they can help medical practitioners trace infections
By S BIRRUNTHA / Pic BERNAMA
MAY 4, 2020, saw more Malaysians returning to their workplaces at the start of the Conditional Movement Control Order (CMCO).
To allow everyone to keep up with real-time updates and to help contain the spread of Covid-19 infections in the country, the government has introduced several mobile applications (apps).
The three major mobile apps — namely Gerak Malaysia, MySejahtera and MyTrace — can be easily downloaded by the public for the purpose of monitoring and tracing contact during the pandemic.
Prime Minister (PM) Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin had urged the public to download these apps on their smartphones as this could also greatly help medical practitioners to trace infections.
He added that the process of contact tracing is crucial in identifying the spread of new Covid-19 infections among Malaysians.
“Medical workers must know if anyone has been in contact with a Covid-19 positive patient. So, to make contact tracing easy, the government has created the MySejahtera and MyTrace mobile apps.
“I hope those with mobile phones will download these apps to help the Ministry of Health (MoH) with contact tracing as this is part of our responsibility,” he said in his special address on Labour’s Day.
A quick check on the Internet showed that all three apps are readily available on both Apple AppStore and Google PlayStore.
Although these three apps do different things, they primarily serve the same purpose of flattening the curve and fighting the virus outbreak.
With three different apps on hand, many are still unclear on how to use them and which one they should download.
Listed below are the tracing applications, to give readers a better understanding of their functions and purposes.
This app was created by the government for population monitoring and tracing to contain the spread of Covid-19.
Developed by the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC), the app offers the latest information from the MoH and the Royal Malaysia Police (PDRM).
Users can easily register or apply for interstate travel through this app instead of applying manually at police stations. It is available for both Android and iPhone users.
Initially, the app provides a digital ID in the form of a Quick Response (QR) code, in which it has users’ personal details and credentials needed by authorities to grant permission for travelling during and after the MCO period.
The app landed in hot water after concerns were raised over data privacy in its beta version, where it was not recognised by the National Security Council (NSC).
Some users had pointed out that the app lacks information and does not state the status of their applications.
The updated version only requires users to register and apply for interstate travel on Gerak Malaysia without any approval (QR code).
However, users were urged to update their app again to the latest 2.5 version to enable the authorities to receive the QR code to approve their interstate travel plans.
Bukit Aman Criminal Investigation Department director Datuk Huzir Mohamed said the approval in the form of QR code had to be implemented now as evidence that users have received approval to travel.
He added that the update was also necessary for authorities to identify those who did not apply for interstate travel.
The latest statistics from PDRM showed that the app had been downloaded 1.4 million times with 503,276 applications for interstate travel between May 7 and May 10.
MySejahtera is the first Covid-19 monitoring app in the country, where it serves as a one-stop platform for getting information and statistics on the pandemic.
The app was jointly developed by four government bodies — namely the NSC, MoH, Malaysian Administrative Modernisation and Management Planning Unit and the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation (Mosti).
The app was designed to be useful for “Persons Under Surveillance” or those quarantined during the MCO.
Through the app, users can perform health self-assessment on themselves and their family members.
Once the user has completed the questionnaire on their current health status, the result will be provided as to whether the person is at risk of being infected with Covid-19.
It has a built-in tracker where it can track Covid-19 hotspots and informs users of what action needs to be taken if a person is infected with Covid-19.
Additionally, the app also enables the MoH to monitor user’s health conditions and take immediate actions in providing the treatments required.
The MySejahtera app has been the most well-received app by Malaysians so far, where many have praised the app’s capacity for being fully functional.
It is available for both Android and iPhone users, with some latest updates of personalised QR codes to precisely identify users and their health status.
MyTrace was introduced by the government to help trace individuals who may have gone near anyone carrying the Covid-19 virus and also to detect cluster infections.
Developed by Mosti in collaboration with local experts, the app is aimed to complement the My- Sejahtera app which was launched earlier.
The app also uses Bluetooth technology which traces contact persons who are close to another app user who is a Covid-19 positive.
According to the app, it adopts a community-driven approach where participating devices exchange proximity information whenever an app detects anther nearby device with MyTrace app installed.
The data stored in the app can also be shared with the MySejahtera app, if a user has both installed on their phones.
Mosti Minister Khairy Jamaluddin said the MyTrace app plays a crucial role in close contact tracing especially once the MCO is lifted.
He also stressed that the data collected from the app will be kept for 21 days in the mobile phones and the app will not collect any location information from its users.
However, many users have claimed that the app requests for location permissions when it is installed for the first time on their mobile phones.
The app listing on the Google PlayStore also discloses that the current version of the app may request access to location.
This contradicts with what the minister had said previously, as ethical concerns over safety and privacy issues have been raised by many users.
Currently, the MyTrace app is only available for Android devices on the Google PlayStore, while the iOS version is expected to be available soon.