Malaysian PM’s Online Greeting Met with Privacy Questions

Bob Styran, IT audit expert
March 08, 2011 /

After sending his online greeting to millions of Malaysians through emails and text messages, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Abdul Razak has had to answer the questions regarding privacy raised by Fong Po Kuan (DAP-Batu Gajah) and Teo Nie Ching (DAP-Serdang).

Asked whether the online greeting violated the principle of data privacy protection, the Prime Minister told Fong he did not intrude into the users’ personal information when he asked for their email addresses from three databases, namely Media Prima Bhd, Higher Education Ministry and his own website

The Prime Minister said in a written statement that he respected the telcos’ terms and conditions and the Malaysians’ right to privacy was respected without exception because the message was originally sent to the three telecommunications firms for distribution of the online greeting to more than 1 million people.

On the other hand, Teo has asked the Prime Minister how much he had spent for the distribution of the online greeting both through email and text messages and how he had obtained these pieces of information.

Najib said the distribution of online greeting had cost nothing from the public coffers as the funding came from the firms’ corporate social responsibility and that he did not have access to the public’s personal information during the delivery of the online greeting.

Data on mobile numbers were obtained from three telecommunications company, Bhd, Maxis Bhd and Celcom (Axiata) Bhd.

In his statement, the Prime Minister stressed that all emails and text messages were distributed only after a thorough review of the terms and conditions of the databases and telecommunications companies concerned to make sure that the personal information of Malaysians is not violated.

The online greeting was not any different from a conventional greetings card and was only aimed at reaching out to the millions of Malaysians to promote unity, the Prime Minister said.


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