Protecting data efficiently is crucial in the information age, given the increasing value and prevalence of data as a resource. As individuals and businesses increasingly depend on digital technologies and data-centric operations, ensuring the privacy, security, and ethical utilisation of data has become a significant social and legal concern.
Establishing and enforcing extensive rules, guidelines and procedures to secure sensitive data and personal information is essential to effective data protection governance. It necessitates a multifaceted strategy that tackles many aspects of data protection, such as institutional policies, technical safeguards, organisational procedures, and individual rights.
The creation and implementation of stringent privacy rules and regulations are important components of data protection governance. These legal frameworks establish the obligations of people and organisations, laying the groundwork for the protection of personal data.
Technological measures play a critical role in data protection governance by safeguarding data against unauthorised access and breaches. This involves implementing secure storage techniques, authentication systems and encryption to enhance the security and integrity of data.
Organisational procedures and accountability frameworks are crucial for ensuring data privacy. By incorporating privacy impact analyses, data protection policies, and robust data governance frameworks, organisations can establish a strong foundation for safeguarding data and upholding privacy standards.
These measures enable organisations to assess and mitigate privacy risks, define clear guidelines for data handling, and establish accountability mechanisms to ensure compliance with data protection regulations.
To ensure data privacy, organisations must implement organisational procedures and accountability frameworks. This includes incorporating privacy impact analyses, data protection policies and robust data governance frameworks as essential requirements.
An effective data protection governance system should encompass methods for exercising data subjects’ rights, including user-friendly consent mechanisms and accessible avenues for addressing complaints and queries. Furthermore, in today’s globalised digital landscape, international collaboration and cooperation are vital for ensuring successful data protection regulation.
OpenGov Breakfast Insight on 23 June 2023 held at the DoubleTree by Hilton Putrajaya Lakeside aimed at delivering effective information and data governance policies, regulations, and frameworks to drive the quality, accuracy, and availability among the decision-makers from Malaysia’s public sectors.
Mohit Sagar, CEO & Editor-in-Chief of OpenGov Asia, acknowledges that data-driven organisations recognise the significance of data quality and the necessity for efficient information management and governance. Across the public sector, in all government activities, data is now widely regarded as a crucial national resource.
“Data is becoming increasingly important in Malaysia, particularly as the nation strives to establish its digital economy,” Mohit observes.
The government has launched several initiatives to promote the use of data and digital technology in a variety of industries, including e-commerce, finance, and healthcare. The National Big Data Analytics Framework, the Digital Free Trade Zone and the Malaysia Tech Entrepreneur Programme are notable efforts.
Malaysia is making substantial investments in digital infrastructure, expanding internet coverage and establishing data centres to facilitate cloud computing. These initiatives will empower businesses to efficiently acquire, store, and analyse data, enabling them to fully leverage its value.
Data security concerns are growing around the world, pushing governments and organisations to devise solutions for cyber-attacks and data breaches. In alignment with these trends, the Malaysian government has prioritised cybersecurity as a crucial aspect of its agenda.
“Data governance plays a vital role in ensuring the consistent, trustworthy, and ethical use of data, which has gained significant importance in Malaysia as organisations increasingly depend on data for their operations and decision-making processes,” Mohit emphasises.
While legislation exists in Malaysia to promote data governance and protection, stakeholders must actively uphold these principles to ensure data integrity and compliance with legal obligations.
Businesses and organisations must take responsibility for data security by installing security measures, reviewing policies regularly, and adhering to applicable regulations. This involves the use of encryption, access limits and the ongoing update of data protection protocols.
The increasing reliance of organisations across sectors on data for decision-making in Malaysia has underscored the growing importance of data literacy. Recognising this need, the government has initiated projects like the Malaysia Digital Economy Blueprint.
Launched in 2020, the Malaysia Digital Economy Blueprint envisions developing Malaysia into a high-income digital economy by 2030. It emphasises the significance of a controlled and well-managed digital transition to achieve efficiency in the country’s digital transformation.
The roadmap highlights key approaches, including enhancing workflow efficiency, upskilling civil servants in digital skills, harnessing the power of data for public services, and enhancing the quality of online services. It also prioritises the training of workers in digital skills, including data analytics, to enhance their ability to effectively utilise data in their respective fields.
Malaysia can cultivate a competent workforce and civil service cadre to ensure that data-driven decision-making helps the country’s digital transformation and economic prosperity. By investing in data literacy and governance, the nation can empower its workforce to use data effectively, unlocking new opportunities and driving innovation across various sectors.
The Malaysia Digital Economy Blueprint underscores the importance of leveraging digital technologies to enhance the efficiency and transparency of government services, promote innovation, and enhance access to essential services in rural areas.
Mohit is confident that Malaysia can unlock the transformative potential of the digital economy by aligning with the Malaysia Digital Economy Blueprint. By implementing its strategies, the country can drive productivity and improve service delivery resulting in beneficial benefits for enterprises, individuals and the government.
“By embracing digital transformation outlined in the blueprint, Malaysia can create a more inclusive and digitally empowered society, bridging the gap between urban and rural communities and driving socio-economic development throughout the country,” Mohit concludes.
Catherine Lian, the Managing Director and Technology Leader of IBM Malaysia, conveyed her appreciation for the attendees, emphasising that their presence serves as a clear indication of their keen interest, unwavering dedication, and a strong commitment to driving innovation in Malaysia.
Malaysia’s digital economy continues to flourish and contribute to the country’s overall economic development, she notes. Its transformative potential opens up opportunities for innovation, entrepreneurship and the creation of new jobs, while simultaneously disrupting traditional industries and enhancing the way people live, work, and engage in business activities.
As per Catherine’s assessment, the business landscape in Malaysia offers promising avenues for growth. However, she acknowledges that there are challenges that present themselves. The primary hurdle lies in acquiring the essential skills and resources required for successful digital transformation.
The migration to the cloud stands out as a paramount objective, prioritised for its potential to reduce costs and enhance production efficiency. The primary focus lies in leveraging cloud services to rent processing capacity, thereby achieving financial savings. Additionally, optimising supply chains and sales operations are key goals that entail transitioning company applications to the cloud environment.
The adoption of cloud technology is expected to be spearheaded by critical sectors such as finance and government, driven by the goal of meeting customer demands, boosting revenue, and achieving cost efficiency. The telecommunications industry is also anticipated to follow suit in adopting cloud technologies.
Catherine added that data governance is vital for organisations to maintain data quality, comply with regulations, make informed decisions, ensure data security and privacy, facilitate data integration, manage risks, and build trust with stakeholders.
“By implementing robust data governance practices, organisations can harness the full potential of their data assets while minimising associated risks and maximising the value derived from data-driven initiatives,” Catherine reiterates.
High-quality data is essential for effective decision-making and meaningful analytics. Data governance establishes processes for data capture, storage, and analysis, enabling organisations to make informed decisions based on accurate and reliable information.
With the increasing frequency and sophistication of data breaches and cyberattacks, organisations must prioritise data security and privacy. Data governance involves implementing security measures, access controls, and encryption protocols to protect sensitive data from unauthorised access or breaches.
Because of its relevance in fostering digital transformation and technological developments in numerous sectors, IBM plays a key role in Malaysia. In this context, IBM positions itself as a strategic business partner, offering a range of solutions including infrastructure, technology platforms and optimisation services.
“IBM is a highly advantageous support for Malaysian enterprises, providing technological infrastructure as well as industry-specific business solutions,” Catherine says. “By utilising IBM’s resources and expertise, businesses can streamline their operations, increase their productivity and provide superior consumer experiences.”
With its profound understanding of diverse industries, including finance, telecommunications, government and others, IBM possesses the expertise to craft industry-specific solutions tailored to address the distinct challenges and requirements of Malaysia’s various sectors. This comprehensive grasp enables IBM to deliver targeted and effective solutions that cater to the specific needs of each industry.
IBM is devoted to research and development, propelling technological innovation and expanding the limits of possibility. IBM Malaysia’s participation in research and collaboration with local academic institutions and industry partners contributes to the development of new technologies and the expansion of the digital economy in Malaysia.
She encouraged meaningful conversations, challenge existing notions, and explore new possibilities to uncover innovative solutions, inspire positive change, and create a lasting impact on society.
“As we embark on this journey together, let us encourage open-mindedness, active participation and a spirit of camaraderie,” Catherine exhorts the delegates. “Embrace the power of collaboration and let us collectively shape a future that is filled with promise, progress, and prosperity.”
According to Kitman Cheung, Chief Technology Officer, Data & AI – Asia Pacific, at IBM, the ongoing digital transformation journey persists despite the disruptions and obstacles encountered worldwide.
In today’s digital era, the availability of easily consumable data has become a necessity for organisations. It empowers them to make informed decisions, foster innovation, and maintain competitiveness in the rapidly evolving business landscape.
By embracing digital technologies and implementing effective data management practices, businesses can leverage the power of data to navigate change, identify opportunities, and achieve sustainable growth.
Kitman Cheung exemplified the case of Sonoma County, which confronted difficulties in effectively coordinating services across multiple agencies. In response to the strain on services triggered by the devastating October 2017 wildfires, Sonoma County initiated the ACCESS programme intending to enhance service delivery and promote self-sufficiency.
As part of this initiative, virtual assistants were introduced to improve coordination and provide additional support. IBM highlighted Sonoma County’s commendable endeavour in achieving a harmonious equilibrium between public health and economic vitality, showcasing their achievements through a video and a blog post.
“Engage to Serve” refers to the approach of actively involving and interacting with citizens to provide them with personalised and seamless experiences across various government services. The aim is to enhance the delivery of public services by understanding and meeting the specific needs and preferences of individual citizens.
By adopting an “Engage to Serve” mindset, governments can create a citizen-centric environment where services are tailored to meet the unique requirements of everyone. This involves utilising technology and data to gather insights about citizens, their preferences, and their behaviour. These insights enable the government to design and deliver services that are more targeted, efficient, and effective.
Personalisation plays a key role in the “Engage to Serve” approach. It entails customising the user experience based on factors such as demographic information, previous interactions and feedback. This can involve providing personalised recommendations, streamlining application processes, and offering proactive assistance to citizens.
Seamlessness is another important aspect as it aims to remove barriers and complexities that citizens often encounter when accessing different government services. This can involve integrating various government agencies and departments to provide a unified and consistent experience. Seamless services enable citizens to navigate through different services seamlessly, without the need to repeatedly provide information or face unnecessary bureaucratic hurdles.
The ultimate goal of “Engage to Serve” is to enhance citizen satisfaction, increase trust in government services and improve overall public service delivery. By focusing on personalised and seamless experiences, governments can build stronger relationships with their citizens, foster greater engagement and participation and ultimately create a more responsive and citizen-centric government.
Digitally transforming workflows and operations aims to streamline and optimise processes, automate manual tasks, and improve overall efficiency and productivity.
By implementing digital solutions and tools, organisations can better monitor, track, and report on compliance-related activities, reducing the risk of non-compliance and associated penalties. Digital transformation can enable organisations to identify areas of inefficiency, eliminate redundant processes, and optimise resource allocation, leading to significant cost savings.
Digital transformation often brings new opportunities for innovation, such as the implementation of advanced technologies, data-driven decision-making, and collaboration platforms. By embracing innovation, organisations can stay competitive, identify new revenue streams, and continuously improve their products and services.
By embracing digital transformation, organisations can emerge stronger from challenges, improve their workflows and operations, comply with regulations, reduce costs, and foster innovation, ultimately positioning themselves for long-term success and growth.
The advent of “DataOps” refers to the emergence of a new approach and set of practices for managing and delivering data within organisations. DataOps combines principles from DevOps (a software development methodology) and Agile methodologies to address the challenges of data management, integration, and delivery.
DataOps emphasises collaboration, automation, and continuous integration and deployment of data-related processes. It aims to streamline and accelerate the entire data lifecycle, including data acquisition, preparation, integration, quality assurance, and delivery.
By implementing DataOps practices, organisations can achieve faster and more reliable data pipelines, improved data quality, increased collaboration between data teams, and enhanced agility in responding to changing data needs. It also helps in aligning data initiatives with business objectives, enabling better decision-making and data-driven insights.
“The advent of DataOps represents a shift towards a more efficient and agile approach to data management, enabling organisations to extract more value from their data assets and drive innovation and growth,” Kitman notes.
Securing and protecting people, infrastructure and the nation while mitigating data collaboration risks across hybrid cloud environments is a complex and critical task in today’s digital landscape. Hybrid cloud environments refer to a combination of public and private cloud infrastructure that organisations use to store and process their data.
“AI is embedded in everyday life, business, government, medicine and more. At IBM we are helping people and organisations adopt AI responsibly,” Kitman highlights. “Only by embedding ethical principles into AI applications and processes can we build systems based on trust.”
Power Talk: Boosting Public Sector Power by Improving Data Governance
Improving data governance is key to enhancing the power and effectiveness of the public sector. By implementing robust data governance practices, governments can ensure the quality, accuracy and security of their data assets, leading to better decision-making and improved public services.
Effective data governance involves establishing clear policies, standards and procedures for data management, including data collection, storage, sharing and usage. It also involves defining roles and responsibilities, ensuring data privacy and security and promoting data literacy among public sector employees.
With strong data governance in place, governments can leverage their data resources to gain valuable insights and inform evidence-based policymaking. This enables them to address societal challenges more efficiently and effectively. Data-driven decision-making allows governments to identify trends, assess the impact of policies and optimise resource allocation.
Shamsul Izhan Bin Abdul Majid, Chief Officer, Technology and Innovation Sector, Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) revealed that they have implemented several steps to improve data governance in the technology and innovation sector.
These steps aim to ensure the effective management, protection and utilisation of data within the commission. Some of the key initiatives include: Establishment of Data Governance Framework, Data Classification and Categorisation, Data Privacy and Security Measures, Data Sharing and Collaboration, Capacity Building and Training, Compliance with Data Protection Regulations and Regular Data Governance Assessments
Shamsul feels that these initiatives demonstrate MCMC’s commitment to enhancing data governance in the technology and innovation sector. “By implementing these measures, the commission aims to promote responsible data management, protect individual privacy, foster innovation, and enable data-driven decision-making in the industry.”
The organisation has ensured that internal Data Governance practices are well managed, Among these initiatives are well-defined data governance frameworks that outline roles, responsibilities, policies and procedures for data management across the organisation. This structure helps ensure consistency and accountability in data governance practices.
MCMC has designated data stewards responsible for overseeing data governance within the organisation. Data stewards play a crucial role in managing data quality, integrity, and compliance, and act as custodians of data assets.
“MCMC will regularly review and enhance its data governance practices through periodic assessments, feedback mechanisms, and benchmarking against industry standards,” Shamsul elaborates. “This allows for continuous improvement and adaptation to evolving data governance challenges.”
According to Ryan Hardin, Head of Strategic Planning and Development, MyDIGITAL Corporation, the Malaysia Digital Economy Blueprint emphasises the importance of involving and encouraging all relevant departments within the public sector to improve the status of the data ecosystem.
The public sector has set up a Data Governance Council comprising representatives from relevant departments. This council serves as a central governing body responsible for developing and implementing data governance policies and strategies.
“The public sector aims to create a collaborative environment where all relevant departments actively contribute to and benefit from the improvement of the data ecosystem, as outlined in the Malaysia Digital Economy Blueprint,” Ryan explains.
Recognising and sharing success stories and best practices within the public sector encourages departments to learn from one another and replicate effective data governance approaches. This can be done through internal communication channels, workshops or conferences.
Ensuring robust data privacy and security measures is crucial for maintaining public trust and protecting sensitive information. The public sector must continuously enhance its data protection frameworks, implement strong cybersecurity measures and adhere to relevant regulations and standards.
Engaging and involving relevant stakeholders, including citizens, businesses, academia and civil society organisations in data governance efforts can lead to more inclusive and effective decision-making. The public sector should establish mechanisms for stakeholder consultation, feedback collection and collaborative data initiatives.
Catherine Lian, Managing Director and Technology Leader, IBM Malaysia proposes that the public sector should embrace digital transformation initiatives to enhance service delivery, improve operational efficiency, and increase citizen engagement. This involves adopting emerging technologies, leveraging data analytics and AI and modernising legacy systems.
Embracing open data initiatives will promote transparency and accountability. It is important to make non-sensitive government data accessible to the public and encourage collaboration, innovation and informed decision-making.
Establishing robust data governance frameworks and prioritising data security is crucial. Government must ensure compliance with data protection regulations, implement strong cybersecurity measures, and establish clear policies and procedures for data handling, storage, and access.
IBM offers a wide range of technology solutions tailored for the public sector, including cloud computing, artificial intelligence (AI), data analytics, blockchain, and cybersecurity. These solutions can help government agencies optimise their operations, enhance service delivery and improve decision-making.
IBM can assist in driving digital transformation initiatives within the public sector. They can provide expertise in modernising legacy systems, implementing emerging technologies and leveraging data to create more efficient and citizen-centric services.
IBM brings its expertise, technology solutions and global experience to help the public sector industry in areas such as digital transformation, data management, cybersecurity, innovation and skills development. Their advice and expertise can support government agencies in achieving their goals, improving service delivery, and driving positive societal impact.
Furthermore, robust data governance promotes transparency and accountability in the public sector. By maintaining accurate and reliable data, governments can enhance public trust and confidence. Citizens have a right to access and understand government data, and effective data governance ensures that data is readily available and presented in a meaningful and accessible manner.
Improved data governance also supports interagency collaboration and data sharing, enabling different government entities to work together more seamlessly. This integration of data across departments and agencies enhances coordination and allows for a holistic view of public services and programmes.
Additionally, data governance plays a crucial role in safeguarding sensitive information and protecting individuals’ privacy. Governments must establish stringent data protection measures and comply with relevant regulations to ensure the responsible and ethical use of data.
By prioritising data governance, governments can enhance their capabilities, increase their efficiency, and deliver better outcomes for their citizens. It empowers the public sector to harness the full potential of data and technology, driving innovation and positive change in society.
To ensure the effective management of data, it is essential to establish robust data governance frameworks and give paramount importance to data security. This involves prioritising compliance with data protection regulations, implementing strong cybersecurity measures, and establishing clear policies and procedures for data handling, storage, and access.
Catherine appreciated the presence of the participants and acknowledged their valuable participation, insights and opinions. The robust discussions are ideal for learning and growing together.
She reiterates that IBM is eager to collaborate with government agencies through public-private partnerships to co-create and implement solutions that address specific challenges and drive socio-economic development.
Catherine strongly believes that citizen-centric service delivery should be prioritised by understanding the needs and preferences of citizens. This can be achieved by leveraging technology to offer personalised and convenient services, enhancing accessibility, and establishing efficient communication channels with citizens.
By placing citizens at the centre of service delivery, government entities can enhance user experience, promote satisfaction and ensure that services effectively meet the expectations and requirements of the people they serve.
Catherine advocates for fostering a culture of innovation and experimentation within the public sector. This entails piloting new technologies and approaches, embracing a mindset that allows for learning from failures and iterating on successful initiatives.
By adopting this approach, the public sector can continuously improve services and processes, drive innovation, and effectively respond to evolving challenges and opportunities. It encourages a proactive and adaptive approach to delivering more efficient and effective public services
Mohit reiterates that collaboration within the public sector and with external stakeholders is essential. Technology partnerships foster an environment of collaboration, idea-sharing and innovation.
By bringing together different perspectives, expertise and resources, partners can collectively generate new ideas, explore novel approaches and drive innovation. This collaborative environment can lead to the development of breakthrough solutions and help organisations stay ahead in a rapidly evolving technology landscape.
“By leveraging the strengths and capabilities of technology partners, organisations can drive growth, competitiveness, and success in the digital era,” Mohit concludes.
Singapore’s Institute of Technical Education (ITE) has emerged as a trailblazer with its innovative Work-Study Diplomas (WSDips) initiative. Launched five years ago, the programme has evolved into a crucial pathway for ITE graduates seeking to elevate their qualifications. According to Dr Mohamad Maliki Bin Osman, the Second Minister for Education, the success of WSDips lies in its ‘learning by doing’ approach, aligning seamlessly with ITE’s practice-based curriculum.
Since its inception with 100 trainees across four courses in 2018, the WSDips initiative has witnessed exponential growth. With over 1,000 trainees now enrolled in 40 courses, the programme has become a testament to its effectiveness. Graduates not only experience salary growth but also boast high employability, with more than 70% choosing to stay in their respective companies post-graduation.
ITE is set to expand its successful WSDips initiative by introducing five new courses in 2024. This move reflects ITE’s commitment to staying ahead of the curve in addressing the diverse needs of both individuals and industries.
The new additions, ranging from Accountancy and Artificial Intelligence (AI) to Nursing and Tourism Management, showcase ITE’s dedication to providing upskilling opportunities tailored to the evolving demands of the workforce.
The WSDip in Accountancy aims to sharpen expertise in in-house accounting functions, addressing the intricate financial management needs of businesses. Recognising the pivotal role of technology, the WSDip in AI and Data Intelligence is designed to support businesses in executing robust digital strategies by nurturing talent well-versed in AI and data intelligence.
The WSDip in Electronics and Computer Engineering responds to the increasing importance of optimised operational efficiency in digital work environments. This course focuses on cutting-edge electronics and computer engineering, producing skilled professionals ready to tackle the challenges of an increasingly tech-centric world.
In the healthcare sector, the WSDip in Nursing offers an apprenticeship-based progression pathway, addressing the growing demand for healthcare professionals. This programme provides a structured and hands-on learning approach, ensuring that graduates are well-prepared for the dynamic field of nursing.
The WSDip in Tourism Management recognises the significance of the evolving tourism industry. Going beyond traditional approaches, this diploma encompasses a spectrum of skills, from customer behaviour analytics to sustainable tourism practices, preparing trainees to navigate this transformative industry.
The expansion of the WSDips portfolio underscores ITE’s dedication to offering specialised courses that address the contemporary workforce’s needs. By providing upskilling opportunities in crucial areas, ITE ensures its graduates are not only job-ready but also positioned to thrive in their chosen fields.
The integration of digitalisation courses into study diplomas has become a strategic imperative. This move is not merely a reaction to industry trends; rather, it represents a proactive measure to bridge the gap between traditional education and the rapidly evolving technological landscape.
Study diplomas tailored to include digitalisation courses offer myriad benefits, from heightened employability to cultivating a workforce prepared for the challenges of the digital age. Graduates possessing digital literacy are not only better positioned for a wide array of careers but are also empowered to contribute to innovation and entrepreneurship.
Moreover, these programmes play a pivotal role in addressing the global competitiveness of individuals and industries, ensuring that professionals have the necessary skills to navigate a digitally interconnected world.
As educational institutions adapt to include digitalisation courses, Singapore paves the way for a future workforce that is not only adaptive to industry-specific requirements but also capable of driving technological advancements in various fields.
The Malaysian Investment Development Authority (MIDA) organised its forum aimed at catalysing Malaysia’s industrial commitment to sustainability goals. Held at the Connexion Conference & Event Centre, Bangsar South, in collaboration with the National SDG Centre and United Nations Global Compact Malaysia and Brunei (UNGCMYB), the forum strategically focused on leveraging technology adoption and embracing ESG (Environmental, Social, Governance) practices, especially among Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) and Mid-Tier Companies (MTCs).
At its core, the forum delved into the critical challenges faced by industries, including financial constraints, talent shortages, and the scarcity of technical expertise. Crucially, it shed light on the government’s unwavering dedication to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals 2030 and transitioning toward the Net Zero 2050 aspiration.
The session was a knowledge hub, hosting influential figures in sustainability like Mr Faroze Nadar, Executive Director at UNGCMYB, Prof. Dr Ong Kian Ming from Taylor’s University, and Mr Asfaazam Kasbani from the National SDG Centre, Ministry of Economy. Technology experts and representatives from leading entities such as PETRONAS and EPF also contributed their perspectives, enriching the discourse.
YB Liew Chin Tong, Deputy Minister of Investment, Trade, and Industry (MITI), outlined the government’s New Industrial Master Plan 2030 (NIMP 2030). This plan encompasses ambitious goals and 12 outcome-based targets, aligning with the National Investment Inspirations. Stressing the importance of a holistic approach, YB Liew highlighted the necessity for sector-specific targets across manufacturing, energy, transport, and infrastructure to foster sustainable development.
MITI’s proactive stance was evident as the Deputy Minister unveiled the National Industry Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) Framework (i-ESG) to bolster SMEs and MTCs in embracing sustainability. The i-ESG aligns seamlessly with the MADANI Economy Framework, indicating a clear vision for inclusive and sustainable industrial growth.
Underpinning the significance of technology and innovation, YB Liew highlighted initiatives within the Budget 2024, demonstrating a dedicated push toward sustainability. Noteworthy allocations such as the RM2 billion National Energy Transition Facility fund and the potential RM1 billion biodiversity sukuk for carbon credits aim to uplift businesses while fostering a resilient economic landscape.
MIDA’s Chairman, YBhg. Tan Sri Dato’ Seri Dr Sulaiman Mahbob, emphasised MIDA’s pivotal role as the vanguard of sustainable investment projects like e-Mobility, Renewable Energy, and Circular Bio-economy. The establishment of MIDA’s Sustainability Division in August 2023 signifies its proactive approach towards sustainable practices, indicating a promising trajectory.
Tan Sri Dato’ Seri Dr Sulaiman Mahbob underscored the inevitability of sustainable practices in the evolving global landscape, stressing the urgency for Malaysia to embrace the green wave. MIDA’s commitment was echoed through initiatives like the Invest Malaysia Facilitation Centre (IMFC), aimed at bolstering investment facilitation and expediting service delivery, thereby fostering an investor-friendly environment.
MIDA’s forum served as a pivotal platform to galvanise technological innovation and sustainable practices, aligning Malaysia’s industries with global sustainability imperatives. With concerted efforts and strategic initiatives, Malaysia stands poised to lead the charge towards a greener and more resilient future.
Malaysia has set its sights on an ambitious agenda for sustainable development, aligning with global imperatives while tailoring initiatives to its unique socio-economic landscape. With a steadfast commitment to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) for 2030 and a resolute transition toward the Net Zero 2050 aspiration, the nation aims to tackle multifaceted challenges. From addressing environmental concerns like carbon emissions and biodiversity preservation to fostering social inclusivity and economic resilience, Malaysia’s sustainable goals encompass a holistic approach. These efforts converge on technology adoption, ESG practices, and inclusive policies, positioning the nation to forge ahead as a beacon of sustainable progress in the region and beyond.
OpenGov Asia reported that Selangor, a key player in Malaysia’s push towards renewable energy, is set to contribute a substantial 1 to 1.5 gigawatts (GW) to the country’s electricity grid in the coming years, as announced by Menteri Besar Dato’ Seri Amirudin Shari.
The Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT) recently unveiled an ambitious plan to propel Vietnamese businesses onto the global stage through a cutting-edge initiative. At the core of this strategy is the selection of 100 exceptional enterprises for the “Vietnam Pavilion” on a leading B2B e-commerce platform, slated to revolutionise the landscape of international trade.
This innovative programme seeks to champion the diverse array of “Made in Vietnam” products, fuel international trade endeavours, and facilitate seamless access for businesses to tap into the vast customer base of an established e-platform. By leveraging this expansive network, the initiative aims to illuminate Vietnam’s products and the prowess of small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to a global audience.
The registration window for SMEs extends until January 15, 2024, offering selected participants invaluable insights from seasoned exporters. Vu Ba Phu, Director of the Vietnam Trade Promotion Agency, emphasised the pivotal role of this collaboration with the e-commerce giant, highlighting its potential to furnish SMEs with a gateway to the global market. This collaboration underscores a strategic shift toward digital trade, fortifying resilience amid the unpredictable undulations of the global market.
The inception of the “Vietnam Pavilion” in 2022 signals a concerted effort to bolster Vietnamese businesses by amplifying their brand presence and facilitating seamless networking opportunities. According to the Country Director of the e-commerce company in Vietnam, this alliance is pivotal in augmenting the global footprint of Vietnamese enterprises, streamlining their participation in global business endeavours.
In the previous year, Vietnam witnessed an exponential surge in exports via e-commerce, surmounting 80 trillion VND (approximately 3.25 billion USD). Forecasts project a meteoric rise, expecting the figure to soar to nearly 300 trillion VND by 2027. In anticipation of this burgeoning trend, Vietrade swiftly rolled out various online and hybrid trade promotion models, yielding commendable outcomes.
Simultaneously, the Ministry of Industry and Trade organised an event to introduce the “National Centralised Promotion Programme 2023 – Vietnam Grand Sale 2023” to stakeholders across the country. This initiative is designed to invigorate trade promotion endeavours while fortifying the branding of Vietnamese goods. The programme aims to stimulate domestic market growth, diversify purchasing channels, and bolster production, circulation, and business activities, catalysing the country’s economic resurgence.
The National Focused Promotion 2023 is set to be a nationwide affair, spearheaded by the Department of Trade Promotion in collaboration with relevant industry units, associations, businesses, and organisations. This concerted effort will encompass a multifaceted approach, blending traditional trade methods with e-commerce to generate a ripple effect, drawing the active participation of enterprises across sectors.
Businesses are granted the autonomy to partake in the “National Focused Promotion 2023” Programme by proactively engaging in diverse and compelling promotional activities aimed at captivating customers. They have the prerogative to set promotional limits (up to 100%), provided they adhere to legal and transparent promotional practices and safeguard consumer rights.
As stipulated, the permissible limit for goods and services used in promotional activities during the specified period from December 4, 2023, to February 9, 2024, stands at 100%, in alignment with regulatory decisions.
In essence, these initiatives orchestrated by the Ministry of Industry and Trade represent a decisive stride toward harnessing technological advancements to bolster Vietnam’s economic landscape, empowering businesses to thrive in the digital age while fortifying their global market presence.
Vietnam is eager to develop its digital economy and ensure that it is ready to make use of any opportunities to expand.
OpenGov Asia reported that the Ministry of Information and Communications is designing a strategy for Vietnam’s international fibre-optic cable development that will soon be released. This initiative aims to guarantee the secure and sustainable advancement of Vietnam’s digital infrastructure, according to Pham Duc Long, the Deputy Minister of MIC.
A delegation from the Ministry of State Apparatus Empowerment and Bureaucratic Reform (PANRB) met with the Permanent Mission of the Republic of Indonesia to the United Nations (PTRI New York) in New York. The meeting addressed the importance of digitisation as a fundamental foundation in bureaucratic reform.
Digitisation, involving representatives from the Ministry of PANRB and PTRI New York, discussed concrete steps to integrate technology into bureaucratic reform efforts. The discussion involved aspects such as implementing information systems, developing human resource capacity, and using technological innovation to enhance administrative efficiency.
In this meeting, the delegation from the Ministry of PANRB, led by Deputy for Institutional and Organisational Affairs Nanik Murwati, accompanied by Acting Assistant Deputy for Institutional and Organisational Affairs for the Economy, Maritime, and Investment of the Ministry of PANRB Ario Wiriandhi, was received by the Permanent Representative of Indonesia to PTRI New York, Arrmanatha Christiawan Nasir, and his team. The meeting began with discussions on the progress of institutional and organisational policy.
Nanik emphasised the urgency and importance of bureaucratic reform supported by data-based digital governance. “Digitisation through the SPBE architecture is the main foundation for bureaucratic reform, with its impact to be felt by the Indonesian people both domestically and internationally,” said Nanik.
Nanik demonstrated the Indonesian government’s commitment to advancing bureaucratic reform through digital transformation through this meeting. They underscored the importance of international collaboration, especially in exchanging knowledge and experiences related to implementing technology in public administration.
One of the main focuses of the meeting was to enhance the effectiveness of public services through implementing digital solutions. The delegation discussed the potential use of artificial intelligence, data analysis, and technology-based platforms to expedite decision-making processes and provide more responsive services to the public.
“The use of digital technology in various aspects of government operations, such as reporting, data management, and interagency coordination, can create a more open, transparent, and efficient environment,” said Nanik.
The Ministry of State Apparatus Empowerment and Bureaucratic Reform (PANRB) emphasised simplifying and integrating business processes to strengthen digitisation. The main goal is to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of task implementation, programmes, and services across all government agencies, including those carried out by the Permanent Mission of the Republic of Indonesia (PTRI) in New York.
Nanik, the representative from the Ministry of PANRB, revealed that the next step is to conduct an in-depth review with PTRI New York regarding the institutional arrangement policy of the Indonesian Representative Abroad. This institutional arrangement aligns with the revision of Presidential Decree No. 108/2003 concerning the Organisation of the Indonesian Representation Abroad. This process aims to align and enhance the organisational structure to provide optimal support in diplomatic tasks.
The discussion highlighted crucial points, including the position and relationship of business processes and work procedures between PTRI and KJRI New York, KBRI Washington DC, and other organisational elements within the PTRI New York environment. The results of the meeting are expected to form a strong foundation to strengthen synergy and efficiency in diplomatic tasks at PTRI in New York.
Furthermore, through this collaborative step, Nanik believes that by implementing digitisation comprehensively in bureaucracy, there will be significant opportunities to improve the efficiency and responsiveness of public services. Digitisation will facilitate access and information exchange between agencies, reduce task execution time, minimise bureaucracy, and mitigate risks associated with manual processes.
This initiative addresses current needs and looks ahead, creating a robust foundation for adapting to ongoing technological developments. Thus, Indonesia can continue to deliver excellent and responsive public services, achieving the goal of sustainable bureaucratic transformation.
The National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) recently visited Dumangas, Iloilo, to witness the demonstration of SARAi, a cutting-edge remote-sensing technology developed by the University of the Philippines Los Baños.
This initiative is part of NEDA’s ongoing efforts to harness the potential of remote-sensing technologies for gathering timely crop data, a crucial element in providing anticipatory inflation policy advice through the Inter-Agency Committee on Inflation and Market Outlook (IAC-IMO).
Project SARAi, standing for Smarter Approaches to Reinvigorate Agriculture as an Industry in the Philippines, focuses on monitoring agricultural production. During the demonstration, the Dumangas SARAi team showcased the generation of crop commodity maps using satellite data. The validation process involves a mobile phone app or a specialised drone, ensuring accuracy in monitoring the growth and health of crops in Dumangas.
While SARAi has proven useful at the local government unit (LGU) level, its current pilot implementation is limited to a few LGUs. NEDA Assistant Secretary Reynaldo R Cancio emphasised the need for broader implementation to fully tap into its potential for guiding national policy-making. Acknowledging challenges faced during the technology’s introduction to pilot LGUs, Reynaldo highlighted financial resource constraints and a lack of appreciation for the technology’s benefits as major hurdles.
NEDA proposed national government support for the deployment of remote-sensing technologies like SARAi, particularly for LGUs with financial constraints. He stressed the importance of coordination among various remote-sensing projects to avoid duplication and ensure applicability for national-level inflation management.
As NEDA continues to work with the IAC-IMO, the focus remains on providing inflation policy advice using existing data sets. Simultaneously, efforts persist in studying the potential of remote-sensing technologies like SARAi as invaluable tools for gathering essential data in the ongoing pursuit of effective inflation management.
In addition, NEDA has taken a significant step towards advancing the digital landscape in the Philippines with the release of the Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) for Republic Act No. 11927, popularly known as the Philippine Digital Workforce Competitiveness Act. This strategic move, approved on October 2023, reflects a meticulous consultation process involving various stakeholders, including government agencies and private sector representatives.
NEDA Secretary Arsenio M Balisacan emphasised the crucial role the Act plays in equipping the workforce with digital technologies and skills while fostering a dynamic innovation ecosystem. The IRR outlines the establishment of the Inter-Agency Council (IAC) for the Development and Competitiveness of the Philippine Digital Workforce, chaired by NEDA and composed of eight other key agencies.
This Council will be the primary body responsible for planning, coordinating, and implementing initiatives to enhance the competitiveness of the country’s digital workforce, with the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) serving as the secretariat.
The Act empowers the IAC to formulate the National Roadmap on Digital Technology and Digital Skills, laying the foundation for programmes aimed at upskilling, re-skilling, and training the digital workforce. In a bid to streamline information dissemination, the Council will establish a centralised online portal harmonising existing portals of member agencies. This portal will provide comprehensive details on training and skills development programmes, certifications, and scholarship opportunities.
These initiatives directly address identified gaps in digital technology and skills mapping, ensuring that Filipinos across the nation have access to the skills and competencies essential for navigating the digital landscape. The focus on digital content, platforms, innovations, entrepreneurship, and technology aligns with the ever-evolving demands of the global labour market, positioning the Philippines as a competitive player in the digital workforce arena.
Liming Zhu and Qinghua Lu, leaders in the study of responsible AI at CSIRO and Co-authors of Responsible AI: Best Practices for Creating Trustworthy AI Systems delve into the realm of responsible AI through their extensive work and research.
Artificial Intelligence (AI), currently a major focal point, is revolutionising almost all facets of life, presenting entirely novel methods and approaches. The latest trend, Generative AI, has taken the helm, crafting content from cover letters to campaign strategies and conjuring remarkable visuals from scratch.
Global regulators, leaders, researchers and the tech industry grapple with the substantial risks posed by AI. Ethical concerns loom large due to human biases, which, when embedded in AI training, can exacerbate discrimination. Mismanaged data without diverse representation can lead to real harm, evidenced by instances like biased facial recognition and unfair loan assessments. These underscore the need for thorough checks before deploying AI systems to prevent such harmful consequences.
The looming threat of AI-driven misinformation, including deepfakes and deceptive content, concerning for everyone, raising fears of identity impersonation online. The pivotal question remains: How do we harness AI’s potential for positive impact while effectively mitigating its capacity for harm?
Responsible AI involves the conscientious development and application of AI systems to benefit individuals, communities, and society while mitigating potential negative impacts, Liming Zhu and Qinghua Lu advocate.
These principles emphasise eight key areas for ethical AI practices. Firstly, AI should prioritise human, societal, and environmental well-being throughout its lifecycle, exemplified by its use in healthcare or environmental protection. Secondly, AI systems should uphold human-centred values, respecting rights and diversity. However, reconciling different user needs poses challenges. Ensuring fairness is crucial to prevent discrimination, highlighted by critiques of technologies like Amazon’s Facial Recognition.
Moreover, maintaining privacy protection, reliability, and safety is imperative. Instances like Clearview AI’s privacy breaches underscore the importance of safeguarding personal data and conducting pilot studies to prevent unforeseen harms, as witnessed with the chatbot Tay generating offensive content due to vulnerabilities.
Transparency and explainability in AI use are vital, requiring clear disclosure of AI limitations. Contestability enables people to challenge AI outcomes or usage, while accountability demands identification and responsibility from those involved in AI development and deployment. Upholding these principles can encourage ethical and responsible AI behaviour across industries, ensuring human oversight of AI systems.
Identifying problematic AI behaviour can be challenging, especially when AI algorithms drive high-stakes decisions impacting specific individuals. An alarming instance in the U.S. resulted in a longer prison sentence determined by an algorithm, showcasing the dangers of such applications. Qinghua highlighted the issue with “black box” AI systems, where users and affected parties lack insight into and means to challenge decisions made by these algorithms.
Liming emphasised the inherent complexity and autonomy of AI, making it difficult to ensure complete compliance with responsible AI principles before deployment. Therefore, user monitoring of AI becomes crucial. Users must be vigilant and report any violations or discrepancies to the service provider or authorities.
Holding AI service and product providers accountable is essential in shaping a future where AI operates ethically and responsibly. This call for vigilance and action from users is instrumental in creating a safer and more accountable AI landscape.
Australia is committed to the fair and responsible use of technology, especially artificial intelligence. During discussions held on the sidelines of the APEC Economic Leaders Meeting in San Francisco, the Australian Prime Minister unveiled the government’s commitment to responsibly harnessing generative artificial intelligence (AI) within the public sector.
The DTA-facilitated collaboration showcases the Australian Government’s proactive investment in preparing citizens for job landscape changes. Starting a six-month trial from January to June 2024, Australia leads globally in deploying advanced AI services. This initiative enables APS staff to innovate using generative AI, aiming to overhaul government services and meet evolving Australian needs.
Having robust and effective public services is a fundamental goal for every country aiming to enhance the quality of life for its citizens. Quality public services, especially healthcare access, are pivotal in societal well-being and development. As a basic human need, the significance of quality public services in healthcare becomes even more prominent.
New Zealand government is aware of fostering its public services. In light of this, New Zealand has embraced a transformative journey by integrating digital technologies to enhance the accessibility and efficiency of its public services. The introduction of the rural after-hours telehealth service is a testament to the commitment of public health authorities to leverage technology for the benefit of citizens, especially those in remote areas.
This initiative aligns with the broader agenda of digital transformation sweeping across various sectors. The transformative service is co-commissioned by Te Whatu Ora and Te Aka Whai Ora and is delivered through a collaboration between three leading telehealth organisations in New Zealand.
Rural communities now have two convenient methods to access the telehealth service. The public can contact 0800 2 KA ORA (0800 252 672), or their rural healthcare provider can refer them. This dynamic service, operational for a week, has already engaged 20 rural practices, with more set to join in the coming days.
When individuals contact the service, a triage process is initiated by skilled nurses and kaiāwhina. Patients are seamlessly referred to a doctor if necessary. Jess White, general manager of telehealth organisations, spoke about this innovative platform that provides rural communities an additional option for receiving care.
Dr Sarah Clarke, National Clinical Director for one of the telehealth organisations at Te Whatu Ora, underscored the significant impact of this service on the most isolated communities, where access to after-hours care, particularly without reliable internet access, has been a persistent challenge. Selah Hart, Deputy Chief Executive from one of the telehealth organisations at Te Aka Whai Ora, underscores the relief this service brings to rural whānau, particularly those with young children who previously had to endure long journeys for after-hours medical care.
Operational on weekdays from 5:00 pm to 8:00 am and providing 24-hour coverage on weekends and public holidays, the service is staffed by a team of kaiāwhina, nurses, GPs, and emergency medicine specialists. This coverage ensures accessibility for enrolled and unenrolled individuals in rural areas, enabling them to increase their quality of life.
Te Pae Tata, the Interim New Zealand Health Plan 2022, serves as a strategic framework that spotlights the healthcare needs of various demographic groups. Te Pae Tata underscores the importance of enhancing their access to high-quality and timely healthcare services. The emphasis on rural healthcare is a testament to New Zealand’s commitment to equitable health outcomes and a proactive step towards addressing the specific needs of these communities.
This new rural clinical telehealth service complements New Zealand’s existing telehealth options, with Healthline (0800 611 116) continuing its regular operations. As technology evolves, these telehealth services can serve as a foundation for further innovations.
The introduction of this service signifies a commitment to advancing healthcare through digital innovation, ensuring that even the remotest communities have access to quality healthcare, further solidifying New Zealand’s position at the forefront of telehealth advancements.
Across the world, tech is improving health outcomes and patient experiences. For instance, OpenGov Asia reported that in Indonesia’s healthcare industry, robots are crucial, assisting surgeons in procedures, providing rehabilitation therapies, and even delivering medications to patients. Telesurgical robots offer enhanced skill and precision, minimising invasive procedures and improving patient outcomes.
Similarly, in the U.S., researchers at the Pritzker School of Molecular Engineering (PME) at the University of Chicago have harnessed the power of machine learning to revolutionise vaccine design. MIT researchers have introduced medical technology advancements, a wearable ultrasound monitor fashioned as a patch, that holds promising implications for individuals with bladder or kidney disorders, offering a more accessible means to monitor organ functionality.