Malaysiakini News

Who is the developer of Najib's new app?

Adrian Wong  |  Published:  |  Modified:

When Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak announced he was releasing his own mobile app, social media was abuzz with concerns that installing 'Najib Razak' on their phones would result in their data being abused.

Another concern was the identity of the app's mysterious developer, Resonate Digital.

For instance, who owns this company? How much funds did it receive to develop 'Najib Razak'? How much did 'Najib Razak' cost? Was the project awarded to it through open bidding?

So many questions, yet so little information available.

A quick Internet search reveals that the company has no website nor office number available online.

A check on the Commission of Company Malaysia's records shows that Resonate Digital Sdn Bhd was established in January 2014.

In "nature of business", it wrote: "Principally engaged in the management, administration, development, control, supervision, and marketing of web management and communication strategies solutions."

The company has two directors: Amhari Efendi Nazaruddin, 40, is, interestingly, a special officer in the Prime Minister's Department; Har Kok Kit, 47, is a former senior executive in Astro.

According to the balance sheet dated April 30, 2015, the company has RM8,920 current assets and RM8,839 in liabilities.

Shrouded in mystery

Filled with doubt and buzzing with questions, Malaysiakini went to the ground to check this company out.

The company is located at the PJ Trade Centre – a modern, industrial-style office area surrounded by lush green landscape, nestled at the entrance of Damansara Perdana and visible from the Damansara-Puchong Expressway.

The upscale office building, resplendent with tall glass windows and exposed brick walls, comes complete with a fitness centre and a coffee lounge, and also houses listed company MMC-Gamuda.

Visitors who wish to take the lift to Resonate Digital's office must first register with their IC at the security counter. Walking out from the lift, the company's name is prominently displayed on the wall.

During this reporter's visit, the door to the office was ajar, as someone was about to leave, so entering the premises to speak to the receptionist was not too difficult.

A staff soon approached, and, upon learning the purpose of the visit, said the company was reluctant to be interviewed.

A 'person-in-charge' joined the conversation as well; asked about the cost of the application and number of downloads, he refused to answer, saying such information was "internal".

He only revealed that the company had its own team to develop the application.

Asked if he felt it was inappropriate that Amhari, as a PMO special officer, was given the project from the prime minister, he begged to differ.

"This is the PM's personal app," he said.

He also revealed that Amhari was not based in the office.

Just as this reporter was about to take a picture of the company name outside the office before leaving, one staff came out and requested not to do so.

"Otherwise people will come and disturb our work," she said politely.

Concerns over cost

On Wednesday, Najib announced on Facebook that his application would give users the latest updates of his exclusive live features, as well as broadcast his activities and programmes.

But to install the application, users will need to provide the app access to their photos, media and files found on the device.

The privacy policy states information obtained from users will be shared with "employees and vendors who are engaged by or working with" the Najib Razak app team to complete commissioned work.

It logs IP address and user location, but does not gather personal information, the policy states.

DAP's Bukit Mertajam MP Steven Sim has expressed concern over the cost to build the application, and who foot the bill.

He said this is especially since Najib released a similar app called 'Najib Razak 1Malaysia' in 2011, which is now no longer available for download.

In any case, anyone wary of the app's privacy policy can always turn to Najib's numerous social media accounts for updates on the prime minister.

Apart from his Twitter and Facebook accounts, he also has a personal website najibrazak.com, which usually posts lengthy articles about his activities and views on current affairs.

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