Editor’s note: Hybrid Talk

This editor’s note first appeared in issue295 of the MARKETING Weekender


Who am I to dispute Khairy Jamaluddin, the coordinating Minister National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme, when he says RM70 million is a prudent allocation for MySejahtera which comes with a comprehensive “data integration and appointment system”?

Then comes the part that gets lost in translation: “It includes a system integration for linking the MySejahtera database with existing systems at the Ministry of Health pharmacies, development of a Chatbot system, development of vaccine registration portal website, and system of logistics management and vaccine delivery network.” 

He goes on…”the integration of the digital passport system in MySejahtera, procurement of Queue Mobile management system for the vaccination programme, and sending of SMSes and telephone calls on vaccination reminders between five and 10 times for each person.” 

To be fair to MySejahtera, maybe it could be the monthly cost to run the app’s infrastructure that is high.
Hence RM70 million.

While Australia paid less than RM19 million to build their COVIDSafe app, it has cost RM312,000 to run and host. 

Everyone knows it is not unusual for governments to spend massive amounts of money on systems that don’t really stay around for long. 

How can one forget a previous Minister for spending RM1.8 million on 6 Facebook pages to market Tourism, which later became a “campaign” in a press conference she held to explain, after she was called out by the then Deputy PM Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin (now Maihaddin). 

“The RM1.8 million used for the Cuti-Cuti 1Malaysia page was actually an allocation for the whole social media campaign. Part of the money was spent on flash games engine, flash programming and coding, creative development and design, campaign ideas and concepts.” 

She goes on…..”dedicated hardware deployment, software licensing, front end application and application server engine.” 

I spoke to Stephen Molloy, who authored How Apps are Changing the World this morning, and he shared his thoughts on apps development and he reckons the cost of building a global SuperApp like Uber is much lower. Which it is has a e-commerce component. 

For example, the approximate cost to build payment features for an app like Uber is RM25,000. And the approximate cost for the UI/UX for an Uber-like app is RM50,000. In fact, the final cost of developing an app like Uber is only RM620,000.

In New Zealand, their COVID app cost RM18.5million. It includes development, project management and IT architecture, technology enablers to handles sudden surge capacity, customer service, security and Marketing Costs. 

Marketing costs? Now there may lie the mystery of the RM70 million (ceiling)…

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