MCMC: Beware of fake Covid-19 vaccine registration forms on social media

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The Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) has urged members of the public to beware of fake information related to vaccination that are being circulated on messaging platforms.

MCMC released the statement on July 9 to highlight a false allegation involving the Bangi Avenue Convention Centre PPV (Covid-19 Vaccination Centre) in Selangor that has gone viral on WhatsApp.

According to the Special Committee on Covid-19 Vaccine Supply (JKJAV) on Twitter, a series of WhatsApp messages with a Google Form has been circulated urging those who have yet to receive their vaccination appointment to register through the form. It claimed that those who have registered will be able to get vaccinated at the PPV in Bangi.

Faihan Ghani/The Star

The message asked those who are interested to provide details such as their name, IC number and phone number.

MCMC said giving away personal details to unknown parties may result in a breach of privacy and the data being exploited for unknown purposes.

It added that anyone seeking information related to the National Covid-19 Vaccination programme should refer to JKJAV, the Covid-19 Immunisation Task Force (CITF) and district health centre (PKD) in their area.

There have been other reports of fake messages related to the national vaccination programme that have been shared on social media.

On July 6, the Seberang Perai City Council issued a statement urging members of the public not to fall for a fake Covid-19 registration message that was circulating on WhatsApp. The message claimed that users can get vaccinated at a mall and were asked to provide details such as IC and phone number.

Last month, the Hulu Langat District Health Office said that a message circulating on WhatsApp and other social media platforms about a vaccination programme at a clinic in Bandar Seri Putra is fake news and urged the public to stop sharing the message.

Meanwhile, the Health Ministry has deleted its tweet which dismissed claims of large crowds at the Stadium Melawati Covid-19 Assessment Centre (CAC) in Shah Alam, Selangor.

It still insisted that the size of the crowd was not as large as what was claimed on social media.

Initially, internet users disputed the ministry’s denial that over 2,000 people turned up at the CAC. The denial had included photos showing most of the seats in the stadium remained empty.

“The claim that over 2,000 Covid-19 patients were at the Stadium Melawati CAC today (Thursday) is not true. These two photos show the true situation at Melawati Stadium today.

“According to the Selangor Health Department, all patients who came to the CAC today have been accessed and are waiting to be warded,” it said in the now-deleted tweet.

The tweet was posted at 7.45pm last night and was found to have been removed several hours later, after netizens lambasted the ministry’s denial with incredulity.

Asked about the tweet, a Health Ministry spokesperson reportedly said the post was removed because it contained “wrong information from the Selangor Health Department relating to the photos and dates”.

However, the spokesperson also said fewer than 1,500 people turned up at the CAC yesterday, not 2,000 as claimed on social media.

Before the ministry’s tweet was deleted, Twitter user @faizol_zaman asked whether the ministry was “serious” in dismissing the claims. He claimed to be among those at the CAC yesterday and posted photos purportedly showing large crowds both inside and outside the stadium.

“Even the staff on duty said nearly 2,000 have registered via Selangkah at the CAC…

“I cannot understand because I arrived at the CAC in Shah Alam at 7am and many were already waiting.

“Almost 100 frontliners were wearing personal protective equipment the whole day, and one (frontliner) shouted until she lost her voice to handle thousands of people, and you still call it fake?” the Twitter user asked.

He also claimed the Health Ministry’s photos may have been taken earlier in the morning when fewer people were present inside the CAC.

Another Twitter user, @lamyamim_, said he also faced large crowds at the stadium before and the situation hasn’t improved.

“Today (Thursday), a friend went to register, and it is just as full,” he said.

The Stadium Melawati CAC serves the populous Petaling district of Selangor, which is also the district with the highest number of Covid-19 cases in the country.

It has recorded 10,872 cases in the past 14 days (at an average of 777 per day) up to yesterday, excluding imported cases.

Selangor Health Department figures show that 1,313 cases were recorded in the Petaling district yesterday, compared to 666 cases on Wednesday and 904 cases the day before.

A CAC’s functions include assessing people who have tested positive for Covid-19 and deciding whether they ought to be isolated at home, at a low-risk Covid-19 quarantine and treatment centre (PKRC) or referred to a hospital.

It also monitors Covid-19 patients who are isolated at home and removes their quarantine wristband once they are discharged from their home surveillance order.