The National Security Council (NSC) has revealed that it has never assessed or approved the new Gerak Malaysia app which was developed by the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) in order to monitor the movements of the population during and after Movement Control Order.
This confirmation by the NSC comes in the form of a tweet which supports an earlier remark made by the Minister of Science, Technology, and Innovation, Khairy Jamaluddin. According to the minister, the app not approved by NSC due to its location data tracking, despite featuring NSC logo in various part of the app.
By location data tracking, this is likely a reference to the GPS permission that users need to activate to utilize the app. At this moment, researchers and even Apple as well as Google are using Bluetooth for contract tracing as GPS has the potential to breach privacy laws in a lot of countries.
In addition to that, GPS is also less accurate for in-building usages which could also posses a problem since majority of us are inside our homes for most of the time due to MCO. For Gerak Malaysia app, it seems that only the iOS version asked for the Bluetooth permission.
Another interesting bit that the tweet by NSC has also revealed that it is in the process of combining both MySejahtera and MyTrace into a single app. This is certainly a move into the right direction as there is no good reason for the government to release more than one COVID-19 monitoring app which could lead to a lot of confusion among the Rakyat.
However, neither Minister Khairy nor NSC have provided further details regarding the availability or even specific features of the new combined app.
Nevertheless, government agencies out there really need to start working together instead of against each other. Frankly speaking, having inter-agency drama out in the open is quite a sore sight especially in critical times like the on-going COVID-19 pandemic that we are facing right now.