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Sarawak minister says Padu 'strips citizens naked'

Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah also wonders if the data collection has hidden motives.

2 minute read
Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah. Photo: Facebook.
Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah. Photo: Facebook.

A senior Sarawak government official has criticised Putrajaya's Central Database Hub (Padu) plan, saying that demanding certain data from citizens is tantamount to stripping them naked.

Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah said there were concerns about data privacy.

"The moment you fill in, you (‘bogelkan diri sendiri’ (strip yourself naked). Practically everything – your bank account, your house, everything!

"I don’t think that is a proper way to treat your citizens," the state tourism minister was quoted as saying by Borneo Post.

“If Padu is meant to help the poor, let them fill it in in, those receiving government aid can fill that in; but you don’t go across the board and say everybody must fill it in,” he added.

Economy Minister Rafizi Ramli urged the public to register in the system or risk being excluded from subsidies.

According to Rafizi, around 5.4 million people have updated their details in Padu since its launch at the beginning of the year.

Rafizi has argued that the data in Padu, which is cross-checked with various government agencies, will ensure that government subsidies and other types of assistance are distributed accurately and only reach those who are eligible.

However, there are concerns about privacy and security, although the government insists that the information will be kept safe.

Karim said the Sarawak government had asked for a change in Padu's registration exercise in the state.

He said he personally believed the government could have used existing data hubs such as eKasih, which was launched in 2007 to help the government plan various poverty alleviation programmes.

"“Back then we had e-Kasih to search for those who are poor, why do we need Padu? It is more or less the same. Just that in Padu, if you don’t fill it in, the aid recipients may miss out," the Sarawak daily quoted him.

He also wondered if there was a hidden agenda behind the introduction of Padu.

“Is it because you want to help the poor, or is it because you want to know how many people in a village? That’s the role of the Statistics Department."