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Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission launches contact tracing app

The Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) announced the release of COVID-19 contact tracing app, Gerak Malaysia.

The app is designed to help the authorities in tracing and analysing users’ movement nationwide to contain the spread of the pandemic.

The reason for the app is given when first launched, with the following notice: “Since COVID-19 can be easily transmitted by being close to infected individuals, thus this movement app will be a valuable tool for the Ministry of Health to protect you and your loved ones.”

The app requires personal details, including the user’s full name, MyKad or passport number, residential address and email. Users also have to permit to track their location at all times via the phone’s GPS.

Gerak Malaysia will generate a unique QR code for the user, which most likely will be used at some point to allow travel, as the Terms and Conditions notes, “To facilitate Users with the authorised travel document during the period of movement control order (MCO).”

The app is still in Beta and doesn’t appear to have other functions at the moment though the Terms and Conditions mention other features, most likely to be released in the future:

  • To allow Users to make any emergency request, including food support and prescription of medication, which shall be subject to terms and conditions as may be determined by the relevant parties involved; and
  • To provide updates on any extended MCO features, news and statistics whenever made available from the relevant authorities.

MCMC also denies any liability for damage or loss due to the app, and that medical treatment shall not be delivered through the app but only through an authorised medical entity.

It stated that the personal data is only intended to be used up to six months after the expiry of the MCO, and any commercial use is strictly prohibited.

The app is solely owned by MCMC on behalf of the government and it assured that it is committed to protecting users’ data.

The app is available for both iOS and Android users. To sign up, users must input and verify their mobile number via OTP (one-time-password).

Using tech to curb COVID-19

OpenGov Asia earlier reported that governments and private sector organisations have been continually developing and launching apps since the coronavirus outbreak to help fight against the spread of COVID-19.

These apps provide services such as providing citizens COVID-19 updates, situation reports, enabling them to make health risk assessments and to be used as a tracker of the spread of the disease throughout the country as well as documenting the rate and numbers of infected.

The country recently launched its own government COVID-19 app, called MySejahtera. The application was developed by the Government of Malaysia to assist in monitoring COVID-19 outbreak in the country by enabling users to assess their health risk against COVID-19.

The app was developed through a strategic collaboration between the National Security Council, Ministry of Health, MAMPU – Malaysian Administrative Modernisation and Management Planning Unit and the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC).

The MySejahtera app enables users to make self-assessments on their health, locate nearby testing hospitals and clinics, and get information on what to do if they do contract COVID-19 and where to get treatment.

The app will also help the Ministry of Health monitor the virus spread and act as a detector for trends in the outbreak.

The app’s self-assessment asks whether users have COVID-19 symptoms. Users can also check in to the app and share their location or a photo with the relevant government agencies.

It also provides useful information for citizens such as the COVID-19 hotline number as well as a Virtual Health Advisory that links users to medical video-consultation platform, Doctor On Call.

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