Sunday, February 21, 2021

Selangor to relaunch SELangkah contact tracing app

The company which developed the app says this is necessary as several improvements have been made.

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Selangor plans to relaunch its SELangkah contact tracing app as daily Covid-19 infections remain in the four-figure range some three weeks after the movement control order (MCO) was reimplemented across most parts of the country.

Selangkah Ventures Sdn Bhd, the company which developed SELangkah, said the new launch was necessary as several improvements had been made to the app.

“The app will be relaunched, so in my opinion it is best for any statements about SELangkah to be made after that,” its chief operating officer Tengku Iesta Tengku Alauddin told MalaysiaNow.

However, he gave no further details on the matter.

Dr Helmi Zakariah, the app’s developer, confirmed that a relaunch was in the pipeline although he too remained tight-lipped.

“I think there will be an official statement from the organisers,” he said.

Yesterday saw 4,284 new infections recorded across the country, bringing total confirmed cases to 226,912. Selangor continued to record the highest number of daily cases with 1,572, followed by Johor (964) and Kuala Lumpur (651).

MalaysiaNow previously reported that questions had been raised about the SELangkah app, which was said to be facing problems getting accurate data and other details on Covid-19 infections in the state.

“They can’t even follow instructions to use one app, so what would happen if there was another similar app as well?”

In April 2020, at the peak of the first MCO implemented to check the rising number of infections nationwide, Putrajaya introduced the MySejahtera contact tracing app intended for use across the entire country.

The next month, Selangor launched the SELangkah app which performs the same function.

Suzilawati Senin, who works with an application developing company, said it would be difficult to encourage the public to use a contact tracing app, what more two different ones.

“Malaysians’ awareness about using contact tracing apps is still low as there are still individuals being fined for failing to do so.

“They can’t even follow instructions to use one app, so what would happen if there was another similar app as well?” she said when contacted by MalaysiaNow.

In the early stages after the MySejahtera app was launched, she said, it received a lacklustre response from the public until the government announced that RM50 would be credited via e-wallet to those who downloaded it.

Ismail Sualman from the faculty of communications and media studies at Universiti Teknologi Mara said there were no political motives behind the move to develop a separate app.

Instead, he said, it was to help the federal government keep track of how many people stayed in Selangor.

“Some of them have a different permanent address from the one in their identity cards,” he said. “So with this app, we can determine who resides in the state.”

He said it also proved the state government’s concern and readiness to work with the federal government to curb the spread of Covid-19.

“It is not a political game as there are many other platforms which they could use for this,” he said, adding that each state should have its own contact tracing app.

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