Five-star reviews flood ‘Hotline Jais’ app after claim it will be removed

BY BOO SU-LYN
The ‘Hotline Jais’ app has 4,803 five-star and 60 one-star user reviews at the time of writing.

KUALA LUMPUR, March 15 — Over 4,000 five-star reviews were posted for the “Hotline Jais” mobile app after an online message alleged Google will remove it today over complaints of privacy violations.

The app by the Selangor Islamic Religious Department (Jais), which enables the public to report suspected Shariah offences, has 4,803 five-star and 60 one-star user reviews at the time of writing, giving it an average rating of 4.9 out of 5 stars.

“Very good app. It will help prevent immorality [sic] activities in the society. Easier for mosleem to get information about JAIS and other Islamic department activities. Good app to deal with.. keep it up. ‘Kafir sila jgn sibuk ya’.. mind ur own bussiness,” a user called Keroll Baree posted Monday.

A message circulated online claimed that Google had given the app makers until today to make changes to the “Hotline Jais” app’s privacy policy, failing which it will be removed from the Google Playstore because of the negative reviews.

“This is one of the attempts by those who are anti-Islam and by those who fight for fundamental liberties to be free from threats by religious institutions,” said the message.

The message urged people to post five-star reviews and positive comments for the app.

Malay Mail Online could not verify the message.

“We don’t comment on specific apps,” a Google spokesman told Malay Mail Online when asked to comment.

Apps that violate Google's developer policies will be removed from Google Play. There are policies against bullying and harassment, for example.

Jais director Datuk Haris Kasim told Malay Mail Online that he was out of the office and did not have any information when asked for comment.

“Hotline Jais”, which was launched last October, had attracted many one-star reviews at the time of its launch, with many reviewers chiding its moral policing.

Human rights lawyers have said the app would encourage vigilantism and voyeurism.