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Malaysia’s new security policy to address digital challenges

The government has replaced the Domestic Security Policy with the updated Public Security and Safety Policy in order to meet the growing challenges brought about by the digital age.

Launched by Prime Minister, the new policy, which was drafted by the Home Ministry, is based on six basic policies encompassing 21 strategies with the theme: “Public Security and Safety: A Collective Responsibility”.

Today’s world is beset by new and complex security threats. These threats present a huge challenge for any government trying to ensure the nation’s security and the safety of its citizens, the PM noted.

External threats such as trans-border crimes, in particular, ideological threats and beliefs, that clash against religious and cultural beliefs as well as the laws of the nation can lead to terrorism, human trafficking and smuggling, piracy, money laundering, organised crime and counter-culture which contribute to increasing threats to national security and safety.

To address these threats, a holistic policy is required, including establishing strategic co-operation at the global stage.

Social media platforms can be abused to break apart race-and-religious relations by creating worry and fear among the population with the intention of destabilising the current government. Such a scenario must be handled appropriately.

Malaysia’s Home Minister stated that the new policy was drafted based on their study of security trends and developments globally.

The new policy has been structured based on the threats and problems at the global and international stage.

The security measures and strategies have been updated because of the ongoing technological developments as well as new threats from transborder crimes and other issues.

As part of the policy, the Home Minister will be chairing a joint committee with relevant agencies to determine the best strategies to ensure the nation’s safety and handle any problems effectively.

The committee will continuously update the government’s strategy from time to time and implement changes and improvements if there is a need for it in the future.

According to the National Security Policy, the inception and rapid development of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) have increased Malaysia’s reliance on technology thereby aggravating the risk of cyber-security threats.

The open borderless dimension of cyberspace with easy access and availability as well as anonymity has also increased the risk of cyber-attacks on the nation’s Critical Information Infrastructure, abuse of the internet, cyber espionage and other related transgressions. The present trend of cyber-attacks and cybersecurity incidents have been in the rise and increasingly difficult to predict.

Hence, the policy notes, Malaysia will work to enhance defence and national security through capacity building and preparedness.

This empowerment will help to balance the capacity to defend and maintain regional security and act as a deterrent against the foreign intervention of the country’s affairs.

The defence industry, as well as defence and security research programmes too, need to be improved to reduce reliance on foreign technology.

Another article noted that the country’s cybersecurity needs to be constantly refined and strengthened, in line with the advent of the ever-changing and complex digital age.

As such, more attention should be paid to the development of the field through more funds allocated in the 2020 Budget which will be tabled this Friday.

The CEO of CyberSecurity Malaysia, Datuk Dr Amirudin Abdul Wahab, stated that the government should provide appropriate funding to encourage the development of a broader sector including protection technology, system governance and human-development capabilities.

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