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LETTER | March 31 is the deadline for people to register themselves in the Central Database Hub (Padu) and it is not known whether there will be any extension as there are a lot of misgivings and lack of interest in the registration process.

This registration drive has been implemented in an informational vacuum as very important questions and doubts have been left unanswered by Economy Minister Rafizi Ramli.

Even the B40 who have nothing to hide about revealing their personal details and particulars, especially about bank accounts and who would very much like to register for the so-called targeted subsidies programme, are not rushing into it.

They are feeling lethargic about this constant need to update information of all kinds and this is the main reason for the lukewarm response as compared to former premier Najib Abdul Razak’s Bantuan Rakyat 1Malaysia and even the Bantuan Sara Hidup.

One can call it application fatigue! Most of those registering under duress are the B40 who worry about being cut off from the much-needed subsidies to tide over the present spike in the cost of living and the dire socioeconomic situation.

Some from the lower M40 group might also register but I doubt any from the T20 will sign up with Padu as they feel that their confidential particulars about their wealth should not be revealed to others. Furthermore, they do not need subsidies!

Hacking fears

Even information with banks can be easily revealed and subsequently compromised and abused for various reasons as proven in the past, and there is always the fear of Padu being hacked and information shared with others for negative and criminal purposes.

The past few episodes of hacking do not instil confidence in local database systems. Padu, we have been informed, had been subjected to hacking attempts and there is no guarantee that future attacks will also fail to prise open the Pandora’s box.

The government, if it wants information about the M40 and T20 groups, can get them for socioeconomic planning from other sources such as banks, the Employees Provident Fund, the Social Security Organisation and the Inland Revenue Board.

Padu should be confined to getting information about the B40 and others who want to do so. As it is the poor are the targeted groups so why bother about the others if they do not want to register for various reasons? Registration should be voluntary and should be extended.

The government also needs to provide more information about Padu through various media. There is no point in expecting all to register as there are too many suspicions about the entire process. The government will never be able to get all the information about all the citizens and people in Malaysia.

No country has been able to do the same either as there are too many suspicions about the information hub. As such it will be better for the government to be satisfied with whatever information they get or have for their decision and policy making, and use it for its various socioeconomic programmes and future planning.

The B40 and others who presently receive assistance under various schemes should continue to do so and the government should not stop or penalise them just because they did not register with Padu.

The views expressed here are those of the author/contributor and do not necessarily represent the views of Malaysiakini.