NEF: MySejahtera should utilise contact tracing data to notify Covid-19 hotspots

The app is also not supposed to just track movements for patients, but also others who might have had contact with patients

by HARIZAH KAMEL / pic by MUHD AMIN NAHARUL

THE MySejahtera app should utilise the contact tracing data amid criticisms on the application’s efficiency in notifying Covid-19 hotspots, including shopping malls.

The Malaysian Association of Bumiputera ICT Industry and Entrepreneurs (NEF) president Khairil Iszuddin Ismail said he is uncertain if the app is being used to “trace” the movement and contacts of people.

“Perhaps that notification feature is missing. The data is all there, but it is not utilised for actual contact tracing and also information to the public. It is also not supposed to just track movements for patients, but also others who might have had contact with patients,” Khairil Iszuddin told The Malaysian Reserve recently.

“So, be it Selangkah or MySejahtera, they all just do data collection, but it is a waste when data is not being used. There should be more active data mining and analysis, especially after a MySejahtera app user is found positive,” he added.

Last week, MySejahtera said in a series of Twitter postings that Covid-19 has not spread to shopping malls and eateries.

It said 89.3% of people found infected had visited malls and eateries in the Klang Valley, but the virus had not been spread to other patrons.

They said 94.9% of the patients had also visited eateries.

“Investigations and contact tracings proved no spread of Covid-19,” the Twitter posting read, alarming Internet users who pointed out that there have been several cases reported in Suria KLCC, NU Sentral in Kuala Lumpur and 1 Utama Shopping Centre in Selangor.

Conducting data mining and analysis will be beneficial for the government to trace a patient’s previous movements in the past 48 hours, Khairil Iszuddin explained.

He said with data already being stored, the government should also be able to determine who else visited the places at the same date and time, or between a two-hour window.

He pointed out that in terms of features, MySejahtera should utilise the data, notify people who have been in contact with patients and inform on red zone areas when a location was visited by a patient in the past 48 hours.

When asked if the government should work on one integrated system rather than having two, he said having one system is easier.

“One is easier, but when we started talking about contact tracing, with the panic of the pandemic, everybody wanted to help. So, I don’t blame the developers for giving us many options.

“Still, it is best for the users themselves to just use one because your movements are all in one place,” he noted.

In July, the Communication and Multimedia Ministry stated that the MySejahtera app began as a corporate social responsibility (CSR) effort to help the nation in its Covid-19 fight.

However, Khairil Iszuddin cautioned that if the data and the source code are not managed properly, it will lead to another issues in the future.

“With regards to the full ownership of the system, the app, the data and the source code, especially for a system with highly sensitive data, if the contract was not handled properly, even if it was done through CSR, I worry that it might put our government in a bad spot, especially when you need to add new features and amendments,” he said.

Khairil Iszuddin said MySejahtera is currently doing its part in collecting the data, but it should be improvised, especially on data tracing.