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MySejahtera = FourSquare? Is Contact Tracing App Living Up to Its Purpose?
September 29, 2020 News


Apart from “checking in” at locations, the MySejahtera app was supposed to be the app that ensures Malaysians are well informed of the COVID-19 pandemic. With over 10 million downloads on the PlayStore, the app is the most used tracker app in the country.

Despite this, the app does have a few issues which should be looked into. Disruptive Tech ASEAN has been looking at various contact tracing apps in the region. While each country’s app is slightly different, the main purpose of these apps is to record and trace any suspected COVID-19 patients and those closely linked to them based on their location.

There have been positives from this app but there are also some issues that need to be addressed.

Firstly, it’s the updates, updates and updates. Users must be notified and updated of any high-risk areas immediately. Over the weekend, there were several new cases reported at public places in the city. There was no notification from the app. Social media was faster in providing updates. In fact, social media was flooded with users criticising the app for not updating the HotSpot tracker.

Twitter user @izwanshahmin shared a screenshot of the app which clearly showed the HotSpot tracker still not updated. This tracker needs to be constantly updated so that users are well aware of the locations that are of high risk.

Other twitter users also shared their grievances of the app with many feeling it defeats the purpose of informing the public of high-risk areas. Many felt the app was just no different from other location-based applications like FourSquare and Swarm.

Given the amount spent in developing the app, we at DTA feel that updates like these can be easily automated by just linking the app to the health ministry’s database.

Secondly, developers need to ensure the app is compatible with all mobile phones. Not everyone can afford high-end smartphones. The app has to be able to work on even the most basic smartphone model. Currently, the app states that users are not able to check their history on older versions, but their info is stored in the health ministry database.

Hopefully, the developers of MySejahtera will seriously look into the app and consider automating some of the important processes. After all, as the app is designed inhouse by the relevant government ministries, fixing these issues and updates should not have much problem.