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eMadani entanglement: Penny-wise and pound-foolish

Your material comfort in the short run might morph into significant material discomfort and financial foolishness in the long run


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By Jonathan Wong

At the behest of my dear friends, I was looking at the terms and conditions of receiving the eMadani (a measly RM100 of e-cash) for the first time.

Personally, I find it to be a monumental paradox and sheer madness that these legal conditions emerge under the umbrella of “personal data protection”, when, in effect, you are consenting to the commercialisation, exploitation and siphoning of your personal data to shadow institutions. (I call them shadow institutions because you don’t even know who these third-party agencies are, besides the government.)

Here are the actual terms and conditions under Clause 4 on page 3:

  1. Personal Data Protection

By applying for and participating in for the eMADANI program, the Maybank Group Data Privacy Statement available at www.maybank2u.com will apply. In addition, you agree and consent to us, our subsidiaries and any of our affiliated companies collecting, storing, using, processing and disclosing your Personal Data (which include, but is not limited to, your full name, age, date of birth, NRIC or such information that would establish your identity, address, mobile phone, number, email address, bank account details, bank statements and transaction information) to:

4.1. Process your account or your MAE by Maybank2u, request, and facilitate the general administration and management to give effect to the transactions related to eMADANI;

4.2. Provide and disclose your Personal Data to service providers (which may be located outside Malaysia), the Government (including but not limited to the Ministry of Finance (MOF) and its nominees and their respective affiliates and agencies), government departments and government agencies to validate and process the eligibility to your application for the eMADANI;

4.3. Validate the claim of the eMADANI with other participating e-wallets in the event of a dispute;

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4.4. Process any complaints you may have against us for the eMADANI;

4.5. Deliver any notice of communications to you through third party service providers in connection to the eMADANI;

4.6. Collect aggregated data (including transaction information) on the products or services you have spent using your eMADANI or such transactions related to the eMADANI; and/or

4.7. Provide and disclose your Personal Data (which may include your transaction information) to the Government of Malaysia (including but not limited to the MOF and its nominees and their respective affiliates and agencies) to determine the success of the eMADANI.

Please note that you will not be able to participate in the eMADANI if you do not agree and consent to the collection, storage, usage, processing and disclosure of your Personal Data. We will store your Personal Data in accordance with the data processing principles (including the security principle) contained in the Personal Data Protection Act 2010. You have the right to access, view, update or correct your Personal Data upon request.

My internal monologue rages on at this gross transactional injustice towards the common person:

Seriously? Giving away all forms of sensitive data that may be exploited by third parties for a measly RM100? Firstly, Personal Data Protection should be protecting all my personal data, not giving it away to “others”! If my personal data is transmitted to other parties, how is it private? The risk is real: What if some entity or individual takes my personal data and use it for non-private nefarious purposes?

READ MORE:  Alarm over Padu personal information database

Indeed, if anything, I see this as a ploy by the paternalistic government in cahoots with unfettered unknown agencies preying and feasting on the financial desperation and psychological vulnerability of ordinary Malaysian citizens, leaving them in a personal data crunch.

Strangely, this echoes the serious lack of enforcement of the Personal Data Protection Act 2010 in Malaysia. 

On a side note, more complicated is the profound fact that sensitive Malaysian data was being harvested by Malaysia’s Covid MySejahtera app, with it being owned by a Singaporean company. Hence, when will the perpetuation of the leaking of Malaysians’ personal information come to an end?

Effectively, the entirety of Clause 4 of the terms and conditions of the RM100 eMadani in MAE by Maybank2u document compels the recipients to fully authorise the violation of all aspects of the Personal Data Protection Act 2010 all for a mere RM100 handout.

To all Malaysians, my heart cries out to you with a simple message: Think long-term, not short-term. Don’t be financially myopic and lose your financial foresight and peddle away your financial future. Don’t give in to asymmetrical power dynamics where the tangible costs may outweigh the tangible benefits.

Signing away your fundamental financial rights to phantom organisations who may wish to deploy and harness your financial data at their own whims and fancies is not financial salvation, but fiscal slavery.

This is my emotional appeal to you: do not sacrifice your financial data and privacy rights on the altar of a one-time, one-off material comfort, expediency and momentary gratification. Remember the inconvenient price you have to pay in the long run. Clearly, there is no benefit in being financially finessed by phantom institutions.

READ MORE:  Rafizi’s claim that government data must not be subjected to data protection law is baseless

Jonathan Wong Zhi Wen is a Malaysian writer on Medium who holds two diplomas. He explores the interstice of media, politics, history, philosophy, Buddhism, environmentalism, business and gender dynamics. His writing portfolio can be found at https://medium.com/@JonathanWongZhiWen

Your material comfort in the short run might morph into significant material discomfort and financial foolishness in the long run. Take the measly RM100 at your own peril. You have been forewarned.

The views expressed in Aliran's media statements and the NGO statements we have endorsed reflect Aliran's official stand. Views and opinions expressed in other pieces published here do not necessarily reflect Aliran's official position.

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Orang Ulu
Orang Ulu
8 Jan 2024 2.53pm

This diploma holder Chin thinks he is smart 🤓🤓

Paul Lim
Paul Lim
7 Jan 2024 6.05pm

Has such an issue been debated in the Malaysian Parliament? Or does it have the expertise to do so?

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