PETALING JAYA: The government is not ruling out the possibility of forcing MySejahtera users to activate a newly-launched feature which uses Bluetooth technology to enable contact tracing.
Health minister Khairy Jamaluddin said the ministry was currently encouraging the use of the MySejahtera Trace (MySJ Trace) feature which was unveiled on Sunday, but if Covid-19 cases increased, “more strict measures” would be needed.
“I think when we introduce something new, the first thing is to encourage people to take it up,” he said at a press conference today.
“If many don’t use the MySJ Trace feature, it’s pointless. We must have a good number of people using it for us to detect close contacts.
“For now, we’re encouraging its use. Of course, if the situation gets worse and we don’t have a high take-up rate, maybe we will have to make it mandatory to enter premises.
“But we don’t want to do that. The message from the public is very clear: don’t force us again to do it,” he said.
The MySJ Trace function was developed to meet the needs of the Find, Test, Trace, Isolation, Support (FTTIS) programme, which is used by the health ministry to control the spread of Covid-19.
When an individual is confirmed positive for Covid-19, a notification will be sent via the MySejahtera application to obtain permission to share their close contact information.
If the individual gives permission, MySejahtera will give the health ministry access to this information so that it can conduct a risk assessment on the close contact data detected via Bluetooth – with the health ministry then able to identify and track the close contacts.
Khairy said he held a virtual meeting today with representatives of associations such as the Malaysia Shopping Malls Association (PPK), the Malaysian Indian Muslim Restaurant Owners Association and Prasarana, all of whom agreed to encourage visitors to use the MySJ Trace feature while at their premises.
Stating that the feature would ensure Malaysians could live with Covid-19 in a safe and responsible manner, Khairy said such tools would ensure the government did not have to resort to “blunt measures” such as lockdowns.
Addressing concerns about phone battery life, Khairy said the MySJ Trace feature was a “low-energy” user. On data privacy, he assured that the data collected would only be stored for 14 days and that it could only be used by the health ministry.
“We need people to use this technology. When you go to public places like restaurants or shopping centres or take public transport, switch it (Bluetooth) on,” he said. “It’s for your own safety.”
Meanwhile, Khairy said it was still too early to impose a travel ban for the Umrah pilgrimage in Mecca following an increase in Omicron variant cases.
He said the ministry was monitoring case trends for the variant, besides making it mandatory for those returning from Umrah pilgrimage to undergo the seven-day home surveillance order (HSO) and to wear digital monitoring wristbands.
“We do not want to make a hasty decision in restricting Umrah travel.
However, he said tough measure would be taken against those who violate the HSO measures.