LILONGWE, Malawi, Feb. 15 (Xinhua) — The Malawian government has suspended a weeks-long mass registration of sim cards due to public concerns, Minister of Information and Communications Technology Nicholas Dausi said in a statement Tuesday.

The Malawi National Assembly enacted a new Communication Act in July 2016, which requires all sim cards to be registered. The registration was scheduled from Jan. 1 to March 31. However, it triggered fears that the authorities would listen to private phone calls.

Dausi said the government has taken note of the concerns and has decided to defer the registration until the issues are addressed.

The statement added that the Ministry of Information and Communications Technology would engage the Malawi Communications Regulatory Authority, telephone operators and other stakeholders in a mass awareness campaign to address the issues raised.