Sharifah Hasidah: Sarawak supports Padu in principle but wants caution with its implementation


Sharifah Hasidah said the Sarawak government and the people’s concerns on Padu are justified as cases regarding data breaches, leaks, and scams are rampant. – Photo by Roystein Emmor

KUCHING (March 25): The Sarawak government supports the federal government’s Central Database Hub (Padu) in principle because of its noble intention to ensure aid resources are channelled effectively to Malaysians, said Datuk Sharifah Hasidah Sayeed Aman Ghazali.

However, the Deputy Minister in the Premier’s Department (Law, MA63 and State-Federal Relations) said caution must be given to Padu’s implementation.

“This is so as to not deprive eligible Malaysians from receiving the targeted subsidies by looking into individual’s financial position and economic well-being.

“Thus, clarifications from the Ministry of Economy on the matter regarding its security implementation and protocols are 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 in a statement.

She said concerns expressed by the Sarawak government and the people on Padu are justified as cases regarding data breaches, leaks, and scams are rampant these days.

Unlike other jurisdictions, 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 regarding commercial transactions and provides principles for data protection, including consent, purpose limitation, and data security, she said.

“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.

“It is a common misconception that the PDPA is a ‘privacy rights’ legislation. 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.

“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,” she said.

She pointed out that with limited legislation on data privacy and data protection, there is a legitimate concern regarding where one is willing to share personal data and information in Malaysia.

As such, Sharifah Hasidah said the consolidation of personal data of all Malaysians in one central database must be equipped with the highest level of security and data protection.

“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.

Last week, Sri Aman Resident Abang Mohamad Porkan Abang Budiman issued a memorandum requesting divisional administrators not to register particulars with Padu until further notice.

The memorandum dated March 21 also called on divisional administrators to relay the message to all community leaders and members of village security and development committees under their charge.

The Borneo Post also sighted a circular dated March 22 from Sibu Resident Datuk Wong Hee Sieng informing divisional administrators that the state government had yet to decide on the registration of personal data with Padu.

He said community leaders should therefore refrain from involving themselves with the matter.

During a press conference on March 22, Dato Sri Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah said the Sarawak government has reservations on the requirement for citizens to complete registration on Padu.

The Tourism, Creative Industry and Performing Arts Minister said Sharifah Hasidah had been tasked with seeking clarification and review on the matter.

“The state government has got a little bit of reservations on this. It was discussed in the Cabinet. YB Hasidah has been asked to look into this.

“For Sarawak we have asked for it to be modified,” he said.

Abdul Karim said the state government is not saying it is against Padu and will support registration if it has good intentions.

“Of course we will support but if there’s ulterior motive, we will not be happy,” he said.