The Malaysian government revealed that 46.2 million mobile phone accounts were leaked in Malaysia, in a response to an MP’s question on the biggest leak in the communications industry in the country.
In October 2017 the country learned of the leak of the personal details of the mobile phone accounts, with home addresses and MyKad (Identification) numbers, SIM card information and private details of almost the entire population exposed.
Though Malaysia has a population of around 32 million, many have several mobile numbers but the leak included inactive numbers and temporary ones bought by visiting foreigners.
It is now known that the government has ended its contract with the contractor, Nuemera (M) Sdn Bhd, and criminal investigations on the matter have now been handed over to the Attorney-General’s Chambers.
The Justice Party MP, Lembah Pantai MP Fahmi Fadzil, questioned how was it possible that Nuemera, which was contracted to manage MCMC’s Public Cellular Blocking Service (PCBS), could fail to protect the personal data of the subscribers.
The PCBS was launched in February 2014, an initiative that provides a service allowing stolen phones to be blocked from making calls, texting or accessing the internet even if sim cards are changed.
To make this possible, the Malaysian Central Equipment Identity Register (MCEIR) was created. It is a database of International Mobile Equipment Identity (IMEI) numbers, a unique serial that can identify every mobile phone in the country.
This meant all the local telcos in the country had to surrender the IMEI number and personal data etc for the system.
In the written reply, the government said, “Following the investigation, on Jan 26, 2018, MCMC had suspended Nuemera’s appointment as it found that the company breached basic provisions in the contract between MCMC and Nuemera.
“On May 21, 2018, MCMC issued a notice to Nuemera informing of the MCMC’s decision not to renew the PCBS agreement for another five years as provided as an option in the contract agreement,” it said. -/TISG