MCA: Unethical for Rafizi to echo “rich Chinese” narrative to justify poor non-Malay PADU registration

ECONOMY Minister Rafizi Ramli needs to pay more attention on the data security and privacy concerns raised by both the East Malaysian state governments as well as the public with regard to the Central Database Hub (PADU).

Unfortunately, rather than addressing these legitimate concerns, the Malaysia Madani government has opted to resort to coercion, inducement and even attempted to divert attention by alleging that non-Bumiputera are not used to receiving government aid.

Rafizi appears to threaten the public over the low registration take-up rate for PADU. Be it “threats” by warning that those who do not register may no longer receive any subsidies.

Later, via “incentives”, he informed that the T20 (Top 20%) group may also be eligible for subsidies. Be it caution or enticement, the Malaysia Madani government has consistently failed to address citizens’ concerns over data security and privacy.

Furthermore, Rafizi  claimed in the Dewan Rakyat that the low registration rate among the non-Malays is not due to a trust deficit in the unity government but because many of them feel that they are in the M40 (Middle 40%) category, hence are not eligible for aid.

Rafizi’s claims are baseless. He is merely coughing up ridiculous excuses to justify his own negligence and failure.

Be it subsidies for fuel, food, water and electricity or even assistance programmes introduced by previous governments since 2017, there have always been recipients from non-Malay communities because poverty knows no discrimination.

Examples include the Bantuan Rakyat 1Malaysia (BR1M), Bantuan Sara Hidup (BSH), Bantuan Prihatin Nasional (BPN), Bantuan Prihatin Rakyat (BPR), Bantuan Keluarga Malaysia (BKM), and Sumbangan Tunai Rahmah (STR) by the unity government itself.

Find alternative solution

It is regrettable and unethical that Rafizi even mimics the rhetoric of racial extremists and attempts to portray non-Malays as a group that does not need government subsidies nor assistance akin to the ‘rich Chinese’ narrative repeatedly provoked by former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

The data collected by PADU exposes the personal information of individuals almost like a birthday suit! Any breach or leakages become a practical tool for criminals especially scam syndicates.

If more common folks fall into the trap of fraudsters due to PADU’s security breaches, the consequences will be unimaginable. Even worse, Section 3(1) of the Personal Data Protection Act 2010 (PDPA) clearly states that victims cannot sue the government should there be a leakage or theft of personal data collected by the government.

The urgency is on Rafizi to address and respond to public concerns rather than blindly divert attention. The state governments in East Malaysia – ie Sabah and Sarawak – have suspended all registration activities in view of security concerns raised over PADU.

Moreover, since Rafizi stated that the Federal government will no longer extend the registration deadline for PADU, this suggests that the government is unable to achieve its 30 million registration target by March 31.

So far, only eight million registrations have been lodged. It can also be safely said that it is almost impossible to implement the targeted subsidies through PADU.

If the government stubbornly implements targeted subsidies based on data from fewer than 50% respondents, this will exacerbate the problem of unequal subsidies.

The urgent task at hand is for Rafizi to take the data security and privacy issues seriously and search for alternative solutions on how government aid or subsidies can effectively alleviate people’s burdens. – March 30, 2024


Saw Yee Fung is MCA Youth secretary-general.

The views expressed are solely of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Focus Malaysia.

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