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Indonesia strengthens digital cooperation ties with Singapore

Indonesia’s Ministry of Communication and Information Technology is strengthening ties with Singapore’s information and communications technology (ICT) department to deepen cooperation between the two countries in the field of digital transformation. 

Johnny G. Plate, Minister of Communication and Information Technology in Indonesia, announced at the sidelines of the virtual ASEAN Digital Ministers’ Meeting that he had a bilateral meeting with S. Iswaran, Singapore’s Minister of Communications and Information to discuss support activities in technology, a move that forms part of efforts the Indonesian government has set forth to ramp up developments in digital technology. 

The bilateral discussion comes on the heels of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) inked back in 2007 for cooperation between the two nations in developing their ICT sectors. Last year, an initial assessment was conducted in anticipation of a renewal of the MoU. The goal behind the assessment and subsequent renewal of cooperation is to make the pact more relevant and comprehensive of the latest developments in digital technology. These improvements include data protection, among others. 

The Indonesian Minister further explained that: “Indonesia appreciates and is very open to the initiative to increase this cooperation. This Memorandum of Understanding is also expected to reflect Indonesia’s national principles, especially those related to personal data protection, which will be covered by the Personal Data Protection Act.” 

The ICT department of Indonesia has likewise placed a premium on protecting cross-border data flow which is described as an aspect that must be discussed extensively. This is because data exchange through digital means can open avenues for economic development and growth. To illustrate, adopting a more definite policy regarding cross-border data exchange will help the government and private firms to expand to other ASEAN member states. Hence, there is a need for an in-depth discussion on more concrete protocols for data exchange founded upon the principles of lawfulness, fairness, transparency and reciprocity. 

The MoU also highlights joint efforts in developing digital talent. Singapore has earlier emphasised that enhancing the workforce’s digital and technical skills, such as knowledge in artificial intelligence and the Internet of Things technology, is crucial to cater to the needs of various industries. 

Collaboration under the MoU will be further discussed between the two government officials, along with other agencies including the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The renewal of the agreement will form part of government initiatives to shore up innovative developments in its governance frameworks. Some of the projects laid out by the Indonesian government include innovations in urging citizens to adopt healthier lifestyles. According to a report by OpenGov Asia, the Ministry of Youth and Sports said it is implementing the Fitness Measurement System, an application that tracks the fitness levels of end-users. The mobile app was developed by the Ministry of Health in an attempt to help the public be more physically fit amidst the global health crisis. 

Enhancing broadband connectivity 

While data security remains a top priority for both economies, Singapore announced that it is keen on supporting Indonesia to boost its broadband services. The Singapore government said it anticipates an open exchange of best practices between the two countries to accelerate the development of new infrastructures that can handle 5G networks. 

Both economies are intent on enhancing their 5G network services. Singapore earlier said it plans to implement 5G connectivity across the country by 2025. Indonesia is likewise vocal about its goals of rolling out a 5G network in key public places this year. To achieve this, the Indonesian Minister encouraged internet service providers to develop new technology options and 5G schemes. 

Indonesia’s ICT Minister added that the adoption of 5G services will have a massive impact on helping the government gear up towards digital transformation. He said they are hopeful that in the next two years, they will be able to provide improved broadband solutions to all villages and regions in the country. 

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