Communicate better on Padu, economists tell Putrajaya

Communicate better on Padu, economists tell Putrajaya

Govt unlikely to backtrack on system despite criticism, say experts.

MALAYSIANS stand to benefit from the Padu central database hub but Putrajaya has to get the word across in a more effective manner, economists said. They told The Vibes the public has to be well-informed about the system to allay their fears about data breach risks, as expressed by some quarters.

Many have said that they are reluctant to register with Padu for fear of data breaches.

Economists also said the registration process is a hassle as people need to enter every bit of information that can be easily extracted from the Inland Revenue Board or the Employees Provident Fund.

Padu was launched on January 3 with the expectation that it would be a game changer for data management in Malaysia. As of April 1, 17.65 million Malaysians, which is 58.7% of all citizens, have registered with Padu. Malaysia has a population of 33.4 million, as of 2023.

Padu is a central depository for national household income and socioeconomic data. It is intended to serve as a central database for rolling out targeted subsidies. Putra Business School Master of Business Administration (MBA) programme director Ahmed Razman Abdul Latiff said the M40 group would benefit the most from the system.

He said the government has the data for the B40 group and now has to convince the M40 to register so that they could get the right assistance. “The M40 are those who live in the city, work in the city, own at least two cars, own a house and have two to three children with a monthly income of RM6,000,” Razman said.

“There is a lot to pay every month, from bank loans to household expenses and school fees. So the M40 should be getting the targeted subsidies.” Razman also shot down concerns that it is not safe to register with Padu, saying the public should spend more time reading news.

“The minister had said in parliament that it is safe and the government has made efforts to ensure that their data will not be misused. People should read more rather than listening to hearsay and chatter on social media.

“I believe more will register once they see others getting the benefits,” he said.

Last month, Economy Minister Rafizi Ramli said Padu is secure despite facing over two million hacking attempts every week. He said these attacks occur in various forms, including distributed denial of service (DDOS) and breach attempts against the firewall since the system was launched on January 2.

“I can state that Padu is still secure due to the swift actions taken by the system development team,” Rafizi had said.

“The government has also decided to implement geo-fencing. Only access within Malaysia can update Padu,” he said when winding up debate on the motion of thanks for the royal address for the Economy Ministry in the Dewan Rakyat.

another economist, Barjoyai Bardai, said Padu may also benefit the elderly, and urged all Malaysians to register. To this, he said, the government must turn the system into a user-friendly application.

“We are heading towards ‘negara tua’ (old nation) and Padu is a long term investment for ‘big data’. It is for the sake of our nation building, national planning including population planning,” Razman said.

“The elderly who are entering retirement age have no data and they need to be assisted by the government once they retire. They should be getting the subsidy or any form of aid.

“So Padu has to be supported and everyone has to register but make it easy for people to register.

“I don’t see why and I don’t think they will backtrack. They will continue and carry on. “Moreover, the number of people registering or have registered are now more than half the population,” Barjoyai said.

Asked about their fears, Barjoyai said that even without Padu, members of the public are sharing their personal data on a daily basis.

“We are sharing our information everyday by using TikTok, WhatsApp, Facebook and others. Padu has its own security system which has been guaranteed by the government,” he said. “Even the mighty Pentagon had been hacked before. These systems can be upgraded and I believe if there’s any loophole, Putrajaya will take measures to plug them.”

Barjoyai also suggested the government give targeted subsidies to everyone in order to get them to register.

“It would only take the government RM5 billion. Give (targeted subsidies) it to everyone. It is not wrong to do it and it is an incentive for them after they register,” he said.

Government won’t backtrack on Padu

Both experts said Putrajaya will continue with the Padu programme despite criticism from the opposition and individuals. They said there is no reason for the government to stop the programme when more than half of the population have registered.

“I don’t see the need to stop the programme or to cancel it. The government will continue and I expect them to improve the system.

“More than 50% have registered. To backtrack will only cause more damage to the unity government,” Barjoyai added.

– May 8, 2024.

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