Take it to Parliament, ex-deputy minister says on using GPS to monitor public movement

The GerakMalaysia app can be used for contact tracing after individuals test positive for Covid-19, says former deputy health minister Dr Lee Boon Chye.

PETALING JAYA: Former deputy health minister Dr Lee Boon Chye is calling for a debate in Parliament for a Covid-19 Act allowing Putrajaya to monitor public movement through an application for smartphones during the virus crisis.

He said the GerakMalaysia app intended for the approval of interstate travel should also be used for contact tracing when an individual tests positive for Covid-19.

This would allow health officers to track down anyone else within the person’s vicinity who might have been infected as well.

“A new act is needed for this as it involves the privacy of individuals,” he told FMT, adding that the app could be deactivated once the crisis subsides.

He said GPS monitoring had proven successful in other countries and would help control further spread of the Covid-19 virus.

Location date could also be used to monitor public compliance with stay-at-home rules, he said.

On a separate issue, Lee said the National Security Council (NSC) should introduce standard operating procedures (SOP) for each sector to help them conduct their businesses.

He said some sectors might be unaware of how to run their businesses properly during this time and would therefore run the risk of being fined.

Because of this, he said, the SOP should be prepared in advance so that owners could make the necessary arrangements.

“But there needs to be open discussions with stakeholders first because this cannot be decided by officers in Putrajaya,” he added.

He spoke of measures such as workplace sanitation, hand washing, the use of hand sanitiser and social distancing.

“They also need thermal scanners before staff are allowed in, and they need to record the name and contact number of each visitor for easier contact tracing,” he said.

He suggested assigning enough compliance officers to ensure that companies follow SOP instead of just issuing summonses.

He also said he was against asking companies to bear the cost of treatment should staff members test positive for Covid-19.

“They may not be cutting corners, they may simply not know the proper rules.”

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