KUALA LUMPUR, March 28 — Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin today stressed that the MySejahtera Covid-19 contract tracing mobile application and its data still belongs to the government, despite a previous deal on its intellectual property (IP) and software licence.

Khairy also said the decision by Entomo Malaysia Sdn Bhd (formerly known as KPISoft Malaysia) to sell the rights over the app to MySJ Sdn Bhd for RM338.6 million has no bearing on the government’s negotiation with the latter over the app.

“The amount they have agreed to with Entomo has nothing to do with the government’s negotiation.

“I can tell you for a fact that the amount that we are negotiating with MySJ is much, much lower than RM300 million. Far lower than RM300 million,” he said when pressed by reporters after the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) book launch here.

Additionally, the minister also said that the government is not involved in a recent court dispute over the two firms’ shareholders.

“The court case between Entomo and MySJ, that’s something for them to resolve. Nothing to do with the government.

“The government maintains that as far as MySejahtera — the application and also the data inside MySejahtera is owned by the government, and that is the basis of our negotiation with MySJ,” he added, explaining that the negotiations have also not been finalised.

This comes as health news portal CodeBlue reported MySJ Sdn Bhd’s shareholder P2 Asset Management Sdn Bhd was suing Entomo, MySJ as well as another shareholder Revolusi Asia Sdn Bhd in the High Court last November, for alleged breach of the share sale agreement.

Khairy said that when he was appointed health minister, he decided to ensure that the management of the app falls under the ministry.

This, he said, was due to the lack of a formal contract between KPISoft and the government then, and the effort was part of the company’s corporate social responsibility (CSR) programme.

“There was no payment also. When I was appointed as the health minister, I said that we need to regularise this service as they cannot be doing CSR forever, as suddenly, they will ask us to pay and all that.

“So I brought this matter to the Cabinet. I said that we need to have a contract signed together between the government and the company that is operating this platform. That is how the negotiations with KPISoft started,” he said.

Khairy explained that public data has always been under the custody of the National Security Council and National Cyber Security Agency.

Explaining how the KPISoft deal ended with MySJ, Khairy said that the former company had notified the government that it had changed its name (to Entomo) and gave its licence to MySJ to conduct the platform. This was how the government then began talks with MySJ.

“Now, the government is in the discussion stage with MySJ on the way forward. Way forward on the maintenance of the platform. MySejahtera is owned by the government, data is owned by the government, the maintenance of the platform is the issue discussed today.

“So, if they do not agree that MySejahtera is owned by the government, except maybe certain platforms that require their source code and so on, then we will not proceed with the agreement. That is why I said, we are still in negotiations,” he said.

Khairy said that until now, no payment has been made to the operators of MySejahtera to update the application, despite the CSR period having ended, adding that this was why he had brought the matter to the Cabinet to be discussed.

Khairy also said any proposal for a public-private partnership to maintain the app can be considered, but not to commercialise the data from the app.

Two days ago, Opposition leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim raised concerns about the government’s purported plan to sell its Covid-19 tracker application to a private firm which he claimed is owned by known political cronies.

The planned sale was disclosed at a PAC hearing on March 24. An official from the MoH, which operates the smartphone application, informed the panel that the Cabinet had approved the sale on November 26, 2021, via a direct tender.