Since the newly developed Hotspot Identification for Dynamic Engagement (HIDE) system was introduced, several bodies have urged the Government to improve on its implementation and data collection methods.
In a joint statement, the Malaysia Shopping Malls Association, Malaysia Retailers Association (MRA), and Malaysia Retail Chain Association (MRCA) said the Science, Technology, and Innovation Ministry (MOSTI) should suspend announcing information from HIDE until a clear, accurate, and precise basis can accompany the information released.
The statement was released in response to the Government announcing a three-day closure of malls listed as high-risk areas in the HIDE system. “It is obvious the HIDE information is incomplete and skewed and portray a completely different picture than the real situation. The information is incomplete as only those premises and operations that diligently comply with the SOPs and MySejahtera recording are data-mined,” the statement said.
Meanwhile, the Small and Medium Enterprises Association (SAMENTA) has urged the government to make the HIDE system more transparent to the public.
While SAMENTA supports HIDE as a tool for businesses to take corrective action if their businesses are listed, it emphasised that the process needed to be de-stigmatised.
“It doesn’t help that the government has ordered that all businesses listed in HIDE to close down since Sunday for cleaning and sanitisation. This unnecessarily stigmatises these businesses, and it will take weeks, perhaps months, for these businesses to recover following the negative publicity,” said Datuk William Ng, Chairman of SAMENTA Central Region.
Pavilion Kuala Lumpur CEO (Retail) Datuk Joyce Yap told The Star that the management understood the severity of the COVID-19 situation.
However, she said what they hoped for was for the stakeholders to be informed in advance so that there would be a smooth implementation of the directive.
“You have to sympathise with the F&B outlets as they have perishable goods,” she said, citing how a florist with flower stocks for Mother’s Day was in limbo.
Former deputy minister for international trade and industry and Bangi MP Dr Ong Kian Ming has also called on the Government to use past MySejahtera data to improve the HIDE system.
“[Analysis] should be conducted by HIDE for other economic activities such as dining in for restaurants. If there are some restaurants and outlets that have been the source of COVID-19 clusters in the past, then these places should be investigated and closed down temporarily if the SOPs were not strictly followed,” he said.