20 September 2021
Geofencing – a location-based technology that monitors a person’s movements – may be used to ensure that those who enter the country abide by the home surveillance and observation (HSO) orders, or home quarantine.
Health minister Khairy Jamaluddin said that while there is already a pilot project for electronic digital trackers for those under home quarantine, the government was also looking to roll out a similar project using geofencing technology.
Geofencing is a location-based service in which an app or other software uses technology such as GPS or RFID to trigger a response when a mobile device or RFID tag enters or leaves a virtual boundary set up around a specific geographical area, or a geofence.
“Of course, the danger is that the individual can still leave the phone behind and go out. But if you go out and don’t have your phone, you can’t check in (to other premises with the MySejahtera app),” he told a press conference at Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA).
“There are many ways to ‘game’ the system, but we have to make sure that ‘perfect is not the enemy of good’ here. We have to go with the best system that we have, so geofencing is a possibility.”
Asked if he could provide a possible timeline for its implementation, Khairy said he had “just given” the pilot project the green light.
There is also a pilot project for geofencing to monitor the movement of Category 1 and 2 patients undergoing home quarantine in the Klang Valley.
Khairy was speaking to members of the media after observing the process flow of international travellers arriving at KLIA, stressing that it was crucial to ensure there are no bottlenecks or similar scenarios which can lead to congestion.
He hoped to be able to do away with excessive filling of forms by those entering the country at KLIA, saying that the issue would be discussed during the government’s pandemic management committee meeting.
He also announced that from tomorrow, those entering the country who wish to undergo home quarantine can do so by applying on the health ministry’s website.
On Aug 8, Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob said fully vaccinated Malaysians and foreigners who are returning from overseas and have a residence in Malaysia may serve their quarantine at home if they fulfill certain criteria, one of which is mandatory electronic monitoring.
Currently, those who wish to undergo home quarantine have to apply via email, and Khairy said there was a backlog of up to 6,000 unanswered emails as all had to be attended to manually.