Sarawak govt seeks clarification from Putrajaya over Padu’s security implementation and protocol, says deputy state minister

March 25, 2024 By 0

KUCHING, March 25 — Sarawak Deputy Minister of Law, Malaysia Agreement 1963 and State-Federal Relations Datuk Sharifah Hasidah Sayeed Aman Ghazakili stressed today clarifications from the Ministry of Economy (MoE) on the Central Database Hub (Padu) regarding its security implementation and protocols is pertinent in order for the Sarawak government to fully support the federal government’s initiative, as it also needs to protect Sarawakians’ interests.

She said Malaysia has no specific law such as a Privacy Act to protect personal privacy, except for the Personal Data Protection Act 2010 (PDPA), which regulates the processing of personal data in regard to commercial transactions and provides principles for data protection, including consent, purpose limitation, and data security.

“Being the only main legislation pertaining to data protection in Malaysia, as to date, the PDPA is always made to be the reference to matters relating to data protection and privacy,” she said in a statement explaining the reasons for the state government’s reservations on Padu’s implementation in Sarawak.

“It is a common misconception that the PDPA is a ‘privacy rights’ legislation,” she said, adding that while privacy and personal data can often be interlinked, the PDPA is narrow in its application as it deals with personal data privacy as opposed to privacy rights in general.

Sharifah Hasidah noted that even though there is no principle on the right to privacy in Malaysia, the Federal Court case of Sivarasa Rasiah v Badan Peguam Malaysia & Anor [2010] 3 CLJ 507 held that the right to personal liberty under Article 5(1 ) of the Federal Constitution includes the right to privacy.

“With limited legislation on data privacy and data protection, there is a legitimate concern regarding where one is willing to share their personal data and information in Malaysia.

“The concerns expressed by the Sarawak government and the public in general are valid as cases regarding data breaches, leaks and seams are rampant nowadays.

“A consolidation of personal data of all Malaysians in one central database would have to be equipped with the highest level of security and data protection,” Sharifah Hasidah, who is a lawyer by training, said.

She said to determine the targeted subsidies, information on economic and financial standing are important, but not to the extent of disclosing or exposing their personal and private profiles which are not necessary in determining the eligibility of the targeted recipients.

She said the Sarawak government, in principle supports the noble intention by the federal government to ensure that government resources to aid Malaysians are channelled effectively but caution must be given to its implementation so as not to deprive eligible Malaysians from receiving the targeted subsidies by looking into individual’s financial position and economic wellbeing.

Padu was launched by the federal government on January 2 this year for real time data integration and sharing among Malaysian government agencies, focusing solely on improving data accessibility and government decision-making efficiency.

It is meant to have accurate individual and household profile for the federal government to implement targeted subsidies and to enable the federal government to rationalise its subsidies and to avoid potential leakage in the distribution of subsidies.