Padu developed by civil servants to prevent data leaks by third-party vendors, says Rafizi

PUTRAJAYA: To reduce data leakage risks, the Central Database Hub (Padu) was placed under the purview of civil servants instead of third-party vendors, says Rafizi Ramli.

According to the Economy Ministry, data leakages had previously happened when third-party vendors were contracted to develop government data applications.

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“It has to be handled by civil servants because we need to reduce risks from third-party vendors, whereby they can access government information.

“The difference is that civil servants will be bound by the Official Secrets Act (OSA). So, if they went against it, they can be charged,” said Rafizi in a press conference at the Economy Ministry on Thursday (Jan 4)

Rafizi said that third-party vendors are not bound by the OSA.

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“In our experience, there are incidents involving data leakages by third-party vendors because these subcontractors have access to data and are not bound by any rules and regulations.

“I hope this will explain why the government decided that this should be developed by the civil servants,” said Rafizi.

“It is not about the database, but about building and transforming our public service to be world quality,” added Rafizi.

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Since Padu was launched on Tuesday (Jan 2), Malaysians raised concerns about possible data leakages.

Former deputy investment, trade, and industry minister Ong Kian Ming had said that Malaysians who do not register with Padu could expose themselves to identity theft, where their identity cards and postcodes can be “registered by others on your behalf”.

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However, Rafizi refuted Ong’s concerns, saying that the issue was addressed swiftly.

Rafizi also said the Economy Ministry had addressed several issues on Padu registration, such as bugs and vulnerabilities raised by social media users.

Meanwhile, Rafizi also said the model of appointing a vendor or private company to develop integrated government applications is no longer appropriate.

Rafizi said a third-party vendor’s duties are only limited to the terms of their respective contracts with the government.

“With contractors, they can say, ‘look, this wasn’t in my contract’,” added Rafizi.

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Rafizi said developing digital products is a continuous process involving constant improvements from time to time.

Meanwhile, Rafizi said the government targets 500,000 users to access Padu and 200,000 users to update their information on a daily basis.

Rafizi said that as of 4pm, 516,168 Malaysians have registered in Padu, with 261,158 having completed the electronic know-your-customer (e-KYC) process.

“The Padu registration process is taking place smoothly as planned. We expect it will be more challenging in the second week, but it should peak in March,” added Rafizi.

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The public will be given a three-month period until March 31, 2024 to update and verify their information in the database.

Malaysians can update and confirm 39 personal details on Padu, which include identification, number of household members and their address.

Padu was launched by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim on Tuesday (Jan 2), which is also to ensure the distribution of aid and subsidies is efficient and reaches the target groups.

Anwar also said Padu would stop leakages in government assistance.

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