By the same token (pun intended) however, authorities have announced that it will be compulsory to use the TraceTogether mobile application or token to check-in at venues such as workplaces, schools, malls as well as food and beverage outlets in tandem with the Government’s plans to further reopen the economy under Phase Three.
What this means is that while it is not “mandatory”, it will be “compulsory” basically everywhere one would need to go in order to live.
So, unless you are planning to be a hermit, the TraceTogether app or token might as well be mandatory. Why all this unnecessary wordplay that causes needless confusion?
Besides, don’t “mandatory” and “compulsory” mean the same thing for all intents and purposes?
Was Balakrishnan deliberately trying to mislead the public? Or is the Government changing its mind? If it is the former, it is a disingenuous move that erodes public trust. If it is the latter, one has to wonder why? Again, it does not breed confidence.
This could have been an easy win for the Government. It could have levelled with the public straight from the start and said that it would become mandatory. In that way, it would not have caused disappointment and expectations would have been managed.
Or, it could have simply left it at the QR codes method of track and trace which is working fine. We are at the stage where there are very few local cases of COVID-19 anyway with all new cases being of the imported variety.
This begs the question – why are we implementing this TraceTogether app or token now? Arguably, this would have been more necessary a few months ago? So, why now?
While the Government has said that this is necessary in order for the country to get to Phase 3, it hasn’t really explained why this is a necessary step. While it is perfectly logical for tracing to be in place, this is already done without the TraceTogether app or token.
The only difference is that the Government will have all of the data in one consolidated place with the implementation of the TraceTogether app and token.
Why does the Government need this information right now when the cases are dipping?
Remember, powers granted now in a time of a pandemic will not be easily clawed back when the pandemic ends.