Published on April 22nd, 2020 | by Subhash Nair0
Travel Between States After MCO with Gerak Malaysia App
The Movement Control Order is now halfway through its 3rd phase and the end is in sight. In less than a week, if no further extensions are made, some of the strict rules surrounding movement will be lifted. However, things will not immediately go back to the way things were. To avoid another wave of COVID-19 cases, the government will imposing some hurdles to free movement. The latest news from Bernama indicates that those who want to return from their hometowns may apply for permission to travel using an app called ‘Gerak Malaysia’.
The app is available on both the App Store and the Play Store, meaning you can get it whether you’re using an Apple or Android mobile device. We tried it out on our Android phone to see what it was about.
The registration process is straight forward.
Just enter your NRIC, Residential Address, phone number and email. The app will then ask for permission to access your phone’s Physical Activity and Location data. This part is a little scary because the sign in process will not continue unless you agree to let the app access your location information ALL the time and not just when the app is active.
On the negative side, the government literally knows where you are at all times. It’s the sort of thing that would trigger Orwellian fans. Honestly, how much trust you have in the government of the day matters. Right now, the Malaysian government (really the actual frontliners and the Director General) seems to be doing an earnest job.
Our advice, get the app and leave it on until COVID-19 is gone for good. Then delete it as soon as we’re all clear.
The app asks that you keep it active at all times. This will help the government monitor where COVID-19 is and where Malaysians are moving. The app will then generate a QR code. Presumably, at roadblocks, police or army personnel can easily tell if you’re actually going where you said you were going. Again, they can’t force you to download and install this app. But if you are looking to travel interstate after MCO has been lifted, giving up this little bit of privacy might be your only way.
On a personal note, I would more willingly give out this information if the authorities could give us some metrics for when it no longer will be necessary to use. I get that it’s impossible to tell when this will be over, but personal information like this could easily be exploited like an emergency power.