February 28, 2024

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Malaysia Explores New Cybersecurity Legislation

In a recent development, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Law and Institutional Reform) Datuk Seri Azalina Othman Said, alongside Communications Minister Fahmi Fadzil, spearheaded a Working Committee Meeting focusing on the Drafting of New Laws Associated with Cybercrime, held on Monday (Feb 5) in Kuala Lumpur.

Image credits: Bernama

Azalina, communicating via the X platform (formerly Twitter), highlighted the proposed initiative aimed at introducing new legislation to address cybercrime-related issues, underscoring the Madani government’s commitment to safeguarding the populace in the cyber domain.

Acknowledging the indispensable role of online services in contemporary life, Azalina emphasised their significance, particularly in facilitating business operations and enhancing convenience. However, she cautioned against the escalating threat of cybercrime, stressing the urgent need for proactive measures to counter this growing menace.

The meeting drew participation from officials representing various ministries, agencies, and affiliated bodies, signalling a concerted effort to tackle cyber threats comprehensively.

Malaysia’s cyber security landscape is governed by various laws, including the Computer Crimes Act 1997, the Communications and Multimedia Act 1998, the Malaysian Penal Code, and the Personal Data Protection Act 2010. As cyber threats continue to evolve, the Cyber Security Bill aims to provide a comprehensive legal framework to safeguard digital infrastructure and protect citizens’ online activities.

OpenGov Asia reported that CyberSecurity Malaysia is charting its course for the future with the launch of the Cyber Security Technology Roadmap: Cybersecurity Malaysia Framework 2024-2029, under the leadership of Ts Dr. Nur Azaliah Abu Bakar and a team of cybersecurity experts.

This initiative, initiated in the middle of last year, aims to provide the organisation with a strategic framework for the next five years. It entails a meticulous analysis of the current technology landscape, identification of strategic themes, and definition of key initiatives to bolster Malaysia’s cybersecurity posture.

Led by Ts Dr. Nur Azaliah Abu Bakar, the project team comprises cybersecurity professionals from the Razak Faculty of Technology and Informatics, representing a diverse pool of expertise. Together, they are tasked with assessing the existing business and technology environment, identifying services based on end-to-end solutions and customer needs, and mapping out the strategic direction of digitisation.

The Cyber Security Technology Roadmap not only underscores CyberSecurity Malaysia’s commitment to maintaining its leadership in cybersecurity technology but also ensures its readiness to deliver resilient and effective cybersecurity solutions for Malaysia’s evolving cybersecurity landscape.

It was also noted that the drafting of the Cyber Security Bill in Malaysia is regarded as a timely step in the digital age, aiming to consolidate and coordinate existing legislation while addressing the evolving landscape of cyber threats. However, stakeholders stress the need for a clear definition of cyber security, extending beyond traditional concerns like hacking to encompass issues such as social media integrity and cyberbullying.

Siraj Jalil, president of the Malaysia Cyber Consumer Association (MCCA), underscores the broad scope of cyber security, linking its relevance to social media platforms and data integrity within organisations. Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s announcement regarding the expedited drafting of the Bill reflects the government’s commitment to enhancing cyber security measures, empowering the National Cyber Security Agency (NACSA) to regulate and enforce laws effectively.

To complement the legislation, Siraj proposes incorporating a specialised licensing framework for companies offering cybersecurity services. This initiative aims to prioritise user data protection and ensure accountability within the industry. Moreover, Prof Datuk Dr Mohamed Ridza Wahiddin from the Academy of Sciences Malaysia highlights the importance of addressing loopholes in existing legislation, citing examples like the Personal Data Protection Act 2010.


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