Image source: JKPTG or Department of Director General of Lands and Mines (via World Bank report: Enhancing Public Sector Performance: Malaysia’s Experience with Transforming Land Administration
The World Bank has issued
a report outlining Malaysia’s Successes and Challenges in Transforming Land
Administration. The report, titled Enhancing Public Sector Performance: Malaysia’s
Experience with Transforming Land Administration, is part of a
series focusing on documenting the lessons from Malaysia for other developing
countries in improving their public sector management.
Land policies and land administration services are
fundamental for secure land rights, developing land markets and managing land
resources in a manner that best contributes to economic growth, efficient
public sector service delivery, environmental protection, and social cohesion
However, approximately 70 percent of the world’s population
does not have access to affordable land administration systems to secure their
property rights. Many governments lack basic land information systems to secure
land rights, support private sector development or improve public sector
service delivery. Challenges include complexity and costs in establishing
comprehensive land records and maps.
The report notes that recent advances in surveying, mapping
and ICT technologies have made the task of addressing these challenges easier
and cheaper. There are many success stories globally to learn from, but each
country and its land tenure system is unique and there is no universal model
for land administration. Technical solutions need to be fit-for-purpose and
governance of institutions needs to be sound.
Malaysia performs well for land administration globally. It
ranks 42 out of 190 jurisdictions in the ease of registering property in the
annual World Bank Doing Business ranking, which is a good assessment in
relation to other countries in the region. In the Doing Business Report, the
ranking for the quality of land administration is also high at 27.5 out of a
maximum of 30 points.
The World Bank believes that innovative and efficient
mechanisms to improve land tenure security from peninsular Malaysia can help
governments use land as a productive asset.
According to the report, the key factors contributing to
Peninsular Malaysia’s success in registering rights are: provision of qualified
titles; investment in IT systems; and computerisation of land records. The
provision for qualified titles in the National Land Code was followed by a
rapid systematic registration process.
Investment in IT systems and business process re-engineering
has enabled Malaysia to standardise the procedures to register rights in order
to provide more efficient services. The computerisation of land records has
provided a basic dataset to support a Malaysian National Spatial Data
Infrastructure (NSDI) and other data analysis applications such as the
valuation and taxation of property.
The introduction of qualified titles, which allows
registration without a formal cadastral survey (a cadastre is a register of
property showing the extent, value, and ownership of land), helped overcome key
constraints, such as the limited number of government and professional
surveyors and the perceived high cost of formal surveys. Consequently, a successful
initial registration campaign that strengthened land tenure security and
facilitated development of the formal land market. Subsequently, the standards
and processes for cadastral surveys have been gradually improved and a national
program for the conversion of qualified titles to final title has been largely
Business process re-engineering has been essential in
improving service delivery. In 2010 a property transfer taking 144 days. JKPTG (Department
of Director General of Lands and Mines) entered into a major business process
re-engineering exercise. Among the initiatives introduced was the “single piece
flow” which was an adaptation of factory production line procedures. The old
practice of moving documents in one bundle from one point to another was
stopped and a new system introduced to move each application from station to
A checklist of relevant documentation was introduced and a
public awareness campaign undertaken. In four months the land administration
system managed to register 61.12 percent of property transfers on Peninsular
Malaysia in 2 days. Improved record handling systems reduced the effort
required by staff to access and check archived records. The obligatory use of
the Malaysia identity card (MyKad) and thumbprint readers were introduced in
all land offices as a means of reducing fraud and forgery.
Investment in IT
The report says that ICT tools can be effective in
standardising processes, improving service delivery and making spatial and
textual data available for broader use in government and society.
For land registers, JKPTG provides oversight for the
registration system that is implemented by the State authorities on Peninsular
Malaysia. The World Bank report divides the technical evolution of land
administration systems in Malaysia into five stages and there is a planned
sixth stage. Prior to the 1980s, there was a manual land title registration
supported by manual cadastral systems with hardcopy maps and card indices. Computerisation
was introduced in the 1980s, with the creation of the first digital cadastral
databases, electronic indices and Land Revenue Collection System (SHTB). In
1995, computerised land registration systems (SPTB) were introduced in all
State land registries on Peninsular Malaysia.
The early 2000’s saw the introduction of web-enabled land
administration systems with the integration of different government functions
such as planning, taxation, land development and local government. Examples included
e-Cadastre and Modernised Land Administration System (SPPT). In 2005 a web-based land titles system e-Tanah
(e-Land) linking SHTB and CLRS (Computerised Land Registration System) was
introduced in Penang, followed by Malacca and planned for expansion in Kuala
Lumpur (KL). The next planned stage is the development and implementation of
iLand from 2020, as a vision of integrated, spatially enabled land information
available on the internet.
CLRS is operating in all State land registries on Peninsular
Malaysia. But the system has a number of problems and JKPTG has been promoting
the development and implementation of a new digital system called e-Tanah
(e-Land) to addresses these issues.
e-Tanah has been developed with a public portal that
includes: 1) Customer Service (services and procedures, enquire online,
complain, check status and seek help); 2) e-Carian (e-Search) focussed on
Private Title Search; and 3) e-Pembayaran (e-Payment) for the payment of quit
rent online, uploading of payments to State e-Commerce facilities, processing
of credit card payments and checking the status of quit rent payments/arrears.
There will be an internal portal in e-Tanah for the use of
officials in undertaking their work. This portal includes: 1) Single Point of
Contact for one-stop service centres and core modules; 2) Land Disposal Module;
3) Land Development Module; 4) Land Acquisition Module; 5) Title Registration
Module; 6) Strata Title Module; 7) e-Consent Module; 8) Auction Module; 9)
Revenue Module; and 10) Enforcement Module.
The key concept
behind further development of e-Tanah is to integrate land registry data with
other core systems. These systems include e-Kadaster; MyGDI, and e-Stamping,
and future enhancements are planned including e-Dealings and e-Lodgements. The
software system will also facilitate the integration of the registration data
with other key data sets including the national cadastral map series which is
maintained federally by JUPEM.
However, the development of e-Tanah has taken longer than
planned and it has not been accepted by all State governments. Although e-Tanah
is being developed under the coordination of the National Land Council, States
have autonomy in adopting the software. Some States are developing their own,
parallel systems with no assurance that the systems are compliant with national
standards or allow system interoperability.
In response to the limited success with e-Tanah to date, the
Government plans to implement a new e-Tanah pilot in Kuala Lumpur as a model
that the other states on Peninsular Malaysia can adopt. Kuala Lumpur is a
federal territory where the Federal Government has clear authority for land
registration. A new ICT application will be developed with the close
interaction with the State governments to ensure that the software system meets
the needs of the States and is in a form that can readily be customised. In
2016, the Federal government launched a PPP arrangement for development of the
new e-Tanah system.
Partnership Unit for e-Tanah
In 2016, the Federal government launched a PPP (public
private partnership) arrangement for development of the new e-Tanah system. The
PPP is structured as a 14-year concession, with the operator having 2 years for
system development and 12 years to maintain the system, provide services and
make a return on the investment. The Contractor is also providing the hardware
and software but the system will be installed in a government data warehouse
with a government disaster recovery system.
The contractor is also responsible for converting any paper
based records and for regular training and capacity building. The contractor
will develop the core system and provide the source code to Government so that
the software can then be customised according to the requirements of individual
The contractor is also required to update the technology
twice over the course of the concession and is required to develop 9 modules
based on the competencies of the State land registry: registration, strata,
revenue, consent, disposal, development, enforcement, state land acquisition,
and auction in case of foreclosure. The mapping system, e-Kadaster, will remain
a separate system under JUPEM that will be linked with the new e-Tanah along
with other external systems such as inland revenue systems, courts, and
The financing of the PPP is based on an analysis of current
transactions and revenue, cash-flow requirements and the lifespan of the ICT
investment. The land offices will continue to collect fees from the citizens
and the contractor will get payment from the government based on an agreed
portion of the transaction fees and a regular fee/title to maintain the data.
The Federal Government is covering the cost of the system design. At the end of
the concession period the system will be transferred back to Government.
The new e-Tanah database will include the historical land
registration data and the data will remain in Government ownership. The system
is expected to be piloted in Kuala Lumpur in 2017 and then rolled out to other
States, including an upgrade to the existing e-Tanah systems in Penang and
National Spatial Data
Cadastral surveys are recorded in the national cadastral map
series based on the national geodetic datum. JUPEM (Federal Department of
Surveying and Mapping) implemented a geodetic adjustment in 2000 and has
established a Continuously Operating Reference Station (CORS) network with 72
stations that provide Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) data to support
a wide range of precise survey and positioning needs and has plans to increase
this network. Accurate positioning would be necessary to allow precise
measurements for development of the NSDI, spatial data integration and
applications such as 3D modelling.
Institutions for NSDI have been established at national and
local levels. The Malaysian Centre for Geospatial Data Infrastructure (MaCGDI)
was established in 2002, taking over the work of the National Infrastructure
for Land Information System (NaLIS).
The Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment (MNRE) has
established the NSDI called MyGDI, with a National Coordinating Committee which
reports to the National Land Council and has, under MaCGDI, established a
National Geospatial Data Centre (NGDC), State Geospatial Data Centres (SGDCs)
and Local Geospatial Data Centres (LGDCs).
MyGDI includes technology, policies, standards and
procedures for producing and sharing geospatial data, supported by a strong ICT
infrastructure. MyGeoportal allows data producers and users to explore, view,
access and evaluate geospatial information through the Metadata Catalogue
called MyGDI explorer. The metadata are linked to a map service for visualisation
of the geospatial data. The MyGeoportal guidelines and circular letters set out the requirements and procedures for agencies for data sharing and dissemination.
MyGDI activities are undertaken at the national level by
MaCGDI, with support from the various technical committees. MaCGDI interacts
with MyGDI State Coordinating and Technical Committees which undertake SDI
activities at the State level. JUPEM and JKPTG are the two main data providers
Currently, geospatial data-sharing in Malaysia through MyGDI
is limited to government agencies only. Private agencies and the public do not
have access to MyGDI, but can request data directly from the relevant agencies.
However, Government agencies have cooperated with utility data suppliers
(utilities/gas/oil/telecom) to establish standards for utility.
The Malaysia Geospatial Online Services (MyGOS) enables
government users to use and share trusted geospatial data, services, and
applications within their group of members.
Many professional users outside of government agencies use
the MyGeoportal. The 1malaysiamap application enables citizens to search and
provide information for points of interest such as shops, restaurants, hotels,
The use of crowdsourcing or volunteer geographic information
(VGI) is increasingly recognised as an important data source for information
and the government plans to link the various systems for all public and private
users in the future.
The Malaysian government plans to adopt a formal strategy
and enact legislation for NSDI. The National Geospatial Master Plan (NGMP),
which will set up a 10-year Strategy (2017–2027) for the implementation of NSDI
policies, is currently being developed. MaCGDI has shared and discussed the
Inception and Interim reports with other Federal and State agencies. A NSDI law
is also being drafted and will formalize the structure, functions and
monitoring and evaluation mechanisms. The 5-year National Plan (Eleventh
Malaysia Plan 2016- 2020) has allocated budget for implementation of the GMP.
The report also recognises some of Malaysia’s challenges. It
recommends the avoidance of complex divisions of national and state land
registries, and to integrate data systems in order to provide complete and
accurate land data to public and private users. If a unified structure does not
exist, it is critical to strengthen coordination between agencies and ensure
Malaysia has a complex national/state division of the
cadastre and land registry, due to which it has proven challenging to integrate
cadastral and land registry data and systems. The most efficient way to ensure
seamless integration is to have a single system for the information under a
single authority. In the absence of an integrated institutional structure, a
strong coordination mechanism with mandatory compliance for data integration is
critical, which has been successfully instituted for Malaysia.
The report also highlights that Malaysia has developed its
NSDI over the past decades through guidelines and standards. However, there is
still no national NSDI strategy or law (as mentioned above, the Government
plans to enact legislation). But this kind of gap can result in discrepancy
between the mission of individual agencies and organisations providing
geospatial data and national policy objectives.
Read the complete report here.
Singapore’s Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) has recently updated its platform known as Chief Technology Officer-as-a-Service (CTO-as-a-Service). The platform enables SMEs to self-assess their digital readiness and needs at any time and from any location, as well as access market-proven and cost-effective digital solutions and engage digital consultants for in-depth advisory and project management services.
This is for any business entity that wants to know how to start going digital, understand what type of solutions to adopt for its specific business challenge, or choose the solution that best meets its needs.
An enterprise can benefit from CTO-as-a-Service through:
- Conduct a self-evaluation of its digital readiness and pinpoint its gaps and needs in terms of digitalisation;
- Study other Small and Medium Sized Enterprises (SMEs) that have carried out digitalisation projects successfully;
- Receive digital solution suggestions based on the business’s needs and profile; and
- Evaluate the features and costs of various digital solutions.
There are more than 450 subsidised digital solutions available for selection, including those that address industry-specific or general business needs, as well as those that serve to streamline operations, increase business sales revenue, or ensure business resiliency.
The business can also work with digital consultants from the designated operators through CTO-as-a-Service, for digital advisory to assist:
- Seek a deeper comprehension of its business priorities and needs;
- Create training plans and digital solutions specifically for its businesses;
- Include fundamental data usage, protection, and cybersecurity risks in the digitalisation process.
The business may also ask digital consultants to assist with project managing the rollout of its digitalisation initiatives.
Eligible businesses can use digital advisory and project management services for free for the first time. Should the businesses want to keep using digital consultants, future usage or service enhancement will be based on commercial agreements.
Any company that satisfies the requirements below is qualified to use free project management and digital advisory services for the first time:
- Licensed and active in Singapore;
- A minimum of 30 per cent local shareholding;
- Enterprise’s group employment size is no more than 200 employees, or the group’s annual sales turnover is no more than S$100 million;
- Has never previously used CTO-as-a-Service digital consultants.
Meanwhile, SMEs are the backbone of Singapore’s economy. They employ two-thirds of the country’s workers and contribute almost half of Singapore’s GDP. Since digital technology is changing every part of Singapore’s economy, SMEs need to take advantage of digital technologies to grow and do well.
The SMEs Go Digital programme, which was started by the IMDA in April 2017, is meant to make going digital easy for SMEs. More than 80,000 SMEs have used the programme’s digital solutions.
Enterprises can also use advanced and integrated solutions to improve their capabilities, strengthen business continuity measures, and build longer-term resilience. Solutions that are supported by government agencies solve common problems at the enterprise level on a large scale, help enterprises adopt new technologies, and make it easier for enterprises to do business within or across sectors.
IMDA works with sector-led agencies and industry players to find advanced and integrated digital solutions that can be supported and are relevant to their sectors. Companies that want to use these solutions can check the IMDA website to find out when they can apply for each one.
Costs for hardware, software, infrastructure, connectivity, cybersecurity, integrations, development, improvement, and project management can be covered by funding support. With this, the agency has kept helping businesses, and the list of solutions that are supported will grow, with an emphasis on AI-enabled and cloud-based solutions.
Taiwan City Science Lab @ Taipei Tech demonstrated a series of cutting-edge AI applications. The lab exhibit advanced AI applications and their research and development results, such as the mobile robot, a AI robotic fish and Campus Rover.
The cross-disciplinary R&D and teaching laboratory aims to be a global technology and talent exchange platform. Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and Taipei Tech are coming together to jointly established City Science Lab @ Taipei Tech.
“Through developing advanced AI technology and big data system, we plan to make Taiwan the island of high-end technology,” said Yao Leehter, Taipei Tech Chair Professor of the Department of Electrical Engineering.
Yao indicated that Taipei Tech alums highly support the lab. The lab also collaborates with Kent Larson, the leader of MIT City Science Lab, the City Science Lab @ Taipei Tech aims to be an international platform for technology and talent exchange.
Taipei Tech adopts and jointly promotes with MIT to implement the Undergraduate Scientific Research Programme. Known as UROP, the programme provides sufficient resources for students and cultivates a new generation of scientific researchers. The collaboration was initially rolled out in 1969 by MIT’s first President, William Rogers.
For students to learn the most modern and state-of-the-art technology applications, the lab provides advanced equipment for R&D purposes, such as mobile robots. The agile, mobile robot can adapt to complex terrains and is equipped with LIDAR, infrared, and stereo vision sensors, which can draw 3D point cloud maps in real-time and detect and dodge obstacles. The mobile robot is used in decommissioned nuclear power plants, factories, construction sites, and offshore drilling oil platforms. Another mobile robot use case is for patrol, troubleshooting, and leak detection.
In addition, the lab also showcased its R&D results which are the AI robotic fish to the advanced instrumental equipment. The robotic fish is a streamlined robot designed to resemble a real fish. The fish robot comprehends and mimics the motion model of swimming fish through machine learning.
The robot can swim underwater in a simulated way. To perfectly mimic the fish movement, researchers have spent significant time collecting massive movement data from real fish, documenting, and analysing the swimming performance. Afterwards, they utilised AI technology and programme coding to control the motoric movement of the robotic fish.
The team then spent a year adjusting the robotic fish to make the swim movement look like a real fish. Machinery fish propulsion efficiency and excellent swimming performance are considered one of the most critical subjects in bionics.
“The robotic fish is useful for biological research and can also be used to carry out underwater operations and examine water quality,” said Yao.
Recently, the fish robot was involved in movie production. During the designing process, the production house team suggested adding a “cloth” on the fish with fish skin and fish scale to make it more lifelike. The company also came up with the idea to use a magnet to stick the fish scale on the body of the robotic fish. Taiwan Textile Research Institute and the local design research group joined the brainstorming and production process to finish the golden fish’s final look onscreen.
Moreover, The Campus Rover, developed by the team of Professor Yao in cooperation with the Taipei Tech Department of Industrial Design, demonstrated practical AI applications in real life. For example, campus or express hospital service can use the self-charging robot to ensure delivery safety.
Around 30,000 rural homes and communities will soon have access to faster and improved connectivity with an expansion of the Rural Capacity Upgrade programme. 21 new contracts have been signed by Crown Infrastructure partners to accelerate upgrades to towers and broadband connections in areas with poor coverage.
The announcement was made by the Minister for Rural Communities, Damien O’Connor, and the Minister for the Digital Economy and Communications, David Clark. This round of the Rural Capacity Upgrade will see many existing towers upgraded and new connections established in rural areas experiencing poor performance. Areas that will benefit from these improvements include, but are not limited to, settlements in the Far North, Gisborne, the Manawatu-Whanganui region, Taranaki, Southland, and Waikato.
The project is expected to significantly boost the economic productivity of homes and businesses with a slow, unreliable, or unusable connection, Clark noted. The government is committed to improving rural connectivity and is on track to see 99.8% of New Zealanders receive access to improved broadband because of the Ultra-Fast Broadband rollout, Rural Broadband Initiative, the Marae Digital Connectivity programme, and the Mobile Black Spot Fund by the end of 2023, he explained.
The investment in rural connectivity will work alongside Land Information NZ’s rollout of the Southern Positioning Augmentation Network (SouthPAN) service. As OpenGov Asia had reported earlier, SouthPAN is the Southern Hemisphere’s first satellite navigation augmentation service. It will improve the availability and accuracy of positioning, taking it from 5-10 metres to as little as 10 centimetres across the country.
This will boost rural productivity through precision agriculture and horticulture, fenceless farming, and improve the safety of search and rescue in the backcountry. The government, along with private sector contributions, has invested more than $2.5 billion into improving digital connectivity to date.
The government has also released “Lifting Connectivity in Aotearoa”, which sets out the high-level connectivity vision for New Zealand over the next decade. This includes the goal that all New Zealanders have access to high-speed connectivity networks, and that the country is in the top 20% of nations with respect to international connectivity measures.
Last month, the government launched the Remote Users Scheme to provide broadband and connect New Zealand’s most remote communities. Clark had announced the scheme, noting that it would equip as many remote households as possible with the connectivity infrastructure needed to access broadband services. As reported on OpenGov Asia, the Remote Users Scheme will help connect people to online health services and educational tools. Through Budget 2022, $15 million was allocated towards funding the scheme, as part of the broader $60 million rural connectivity package announced earlier in the year.
The Crown Infrastructure Partners (CIP), which was established by the government, will administer the Remote Users Scheme and is calling for applications from potentially eligible households and communities. A request for proposal from Internet service providers will follow. It is expected that new broadband connectivity infrastructure for the eligible areas and households can begin being built in mid-2023.
In a process that could be compared to travelling through a wormhole, researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, California Institute of Technology, Harvard University, and other institutions sent quantum information across a quantum system. The Sycamore quantum processor device was used in this experiment, which pave the way for more quantum computer research into gravitational physics and string theory in the future.
Calculations from the experiment showed that qubits moved from one system of entangled particles to another in a model of gravity, even though this experiment didn’t produce a disruption of physical space and time in the sense that might understand the term “wormhole” from science fiction.
A wormhole connects two far-off regions of spacetime. Nothing is allowed to travel through the wormhole in the general theory of relativity. But in 2019, some scientists hypothesised that an entangled black hole-created wormhole might be passable.
By introducing a direct interaction between the distant spacetime regions and using a straightforward quantum dynamical system of fermions, physicists have discovered a quantum mechanism to make wormholes traversable. This type of “wormhole teleportation” was also created by researchers using entangled quantum systems, and the outcomes were confirmed using classical computers.
In this experiment, researchers used the Sycamore 53-qubit quantum processor to teleport a quantum state from one quantum system to another to send a signal “through the wormhole.” The research team had to find entangled quantum systems that behaved as predicted by quantum gravity while also being small enough to run on current-generation quantum computers.
Finding a simple enough many-body quantum system that maintains gravitational properties was a key challenge for this work. The team gradually reduced the connectivity of highly interacting quantum systems using machine learning (ML) techniques to accomplish this. Each example of a system with behaviour that is consistent with quantum gravity that emerged from this learning process only needed about 10 qubits, making it the ideal size for the Sycamore processor.
It was crucial to find such tiny examples because larger systems with hundreds of qubits would not have been able to function on the quantum platforms currently in use. The team observed the same information on the other 10-qubit quantum system on the processor after inserting a qubit into one system and sending an energy shockwave across the processor after doing so.
Depending on whether a positive or negative shockwave was applied, the team measured how much quantum information was transferred between two quantum systems. The researchers demonstrated that a causal path between the two quantum systems can be established if the wormhole is kept open for enough time by the negative energy shockwaves. It is true that the qubit that was inserted into one system also appears in the other.
The team then used conventional computer calculations to confirm these and other properties. Running a simulation on a traditional computer is not like this. A conventional simulation, which involves the manipulation of classical bits, zeros, and ones, cannot create a physical system, even though it is possible to simulate the system on a classical computer and this was done as described in this paper.
Future quantum gravity experiments could be conducted using more advanced entangled systems and larger quantum computers because of this new research. This research does not replace direct observations of quantum gravity, such as those obtained through the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory’s detection of gravitational waves.
The Counter Ransomware Task Force (CRTF), which was formed to bring together Singapore Government agencies from various domains to strengthen Singapore’s counter-ransomware efforts, has issued its report.
Singapore’s efforts to promote a resilient and secure cyber environment, both domestically and internationally, to combat the rising ransomware threat are guided by the recommendations in the CRTF report.
According to David Koh, Commissioner of Cybersecurity, Chief Executive of CSA and Chairman of the CRTF, ransomware poses a threat to both businesses and individuals. Economically, socially, and even in terms of national security, it can be detrimental. Both internationally and across domains, ransomware is a problem.
“It requires us to collaborate and draw on our knowledge in a variety of fields, including cybersecurity, law enforcement, and financial supervision. It also necessitates that we work with like-minded international partners to identify a common problem and develop solutions,” David explains.
He exhorts businesses and individuals to contribute as well, strengthening the nation’s overall defence against the ransomware scourge.
Cybercriminals use malicious software known as ransomware. When ransomware infects a computer or network, it either locks the system or encrypts the data on it. For the release of the data, cybercriminals demand ransom money from their victims.
A vigilant eye and security software are advised to prevent ransomware infection. Following an infection, malware victims have three options: either they can pay the ransom, attempt to remove the malware, or restart the device.
Extortion Trojans frequently employ the Remote Desktop Protocol, phishing emails, and software vulnerabilities as their attack vectors. Therefore, a ransomware attack can target both people and businesses.
The ransomware threat has significantly increased in scope and effect, and it is now a pressing issue for nations all over the world, including Singapore.
The fact that attackers operate internationally to elude justice makes it a global issue. Ransomware has created a criminal ecosystem that offers criminal services ranging from unauthorised access to targeted networks to money laundering services, all fed by illicit financial gains.
Singapore must approach the ransomware issue as a cross-border and cross-domain problem if it is to effectively combat the ransomware threat.
Other nations should adopt comparable domestic measures to coordinate their financial regulatory, law enforcement, and cybersecurity agencies to combat the ransomware issue and promote international cooperation.
Three significant results were the culmination of the CRTF’s work. For government agencies to collaborate and create anti-ransomware solutions, they first developed a comprehensive understanding of the ransomware kill chain.
Second, it examined Singapore’s stance on paying ransom to cybercriminals. Third, for the government to effectively combat ransomware, the CRTF suggested the following policies, operational plans, and capabilities under four main headings:
Pillar 1: Enhances the security of potential targets (such as government institutions, critical infrastructure, and commercial organisations, especially small and medium-sized businesses) to make it more difficult for ransomware attackers to carry out successful attacks.
Pillar 2: To lower the reward for ransomware attacks, disrupt the ransomware business model.
Pillar 3: To prevent ransomware attack victims from feeling pressured to pay the ransom, which feeds the ransomware industry, support recovery.
Pillar 4: Assemble a coordinated international strategy to combat ransomware by cooperating with international partners. Singapore should concentrate on and support efforts to promote international cooperation in three areas that have been identified by the CRTF: law enforcement, anti-money laundering measures, and discouraging ransom payments.
The appropriate government agencies will take the recommendations of the CRTF under consideration for additional research and action.
An international team led by The Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK)’s Faculty of Medicine (CU Medicine) has successfully developed the world’s first artificial intelligence (AI) model that can detect Alzheimer’s disease solely through fundus photographs or images of the retina. The model is more than 80% accurate after validation.
Fundus photography is widely accessible, non-invasive and cost-effective. This means that the AI model incorporated with fundus photography is expected to become an important tool for screening people at high risk of Alzheimer’s disease in the community. Details have been published in The Lancet Digital Health under the international journal The Lancet.
Limitations of Alzheimer’s disease current detection methods
In Hong Kong, 1 in 10 people aged 70 or above suffers from dementia, with more than half of those cases attributed to Alzheimer’s disease. This disease is associated with an excessive accumulation of abnormal amyloid plaque and neurofibrillary tangles in the brain, leading to the death of brain cells and resulting in progressive cognitive decline.
The Clinical Professional Consultant of the Division of Neurology in CU Medicine’s Department of Medicine and Therapeutics stated that memory complaints are common among middle-aged and elderly people, and are often considered a sign of Alzheimer’s disease.
It is sometimes difficult to make an accurate diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease based on cognitive tests and structural brain imaging. However, methods to detect Alzheimer’s pathology, such as an amyloid-PET scan or testing of cerebrospinal fluid collected via lumber puncture, are invasive and less accessible.
To address the current clinical gap, CU Medicine has led several medical centres and institutions from Singapore, the United Kingdom and the United States to successfully develop an AI model using state-of-the-art technologies which can detect Alzheimer’s disease using fundus photographs alone.
Studying disorders of the central nervous system via the retina
The S.H. Ho Professor of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences and Chairman of CU Medicine’s Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences explained that the retina is an extension of the brain in terms of embryology, anatomy and physiology. In the entire central nervous system, only the blood vessels and nerves in the retina allow direct visualisation and analysis.
Thus, it is widely considered a window through which disorders in the central nervous system can be studied. Through non-invasive fundus photography, a range of changes in the blood vessels and nerves of the retina that are associated with Alzheimer’s disease can be detected.
The team developed and validated their AI model using nearly 13,000 fundus photographs from 648 Alzheimer’s disease patients (including patients from the Prince of Wales Hospital) and 3,240 cognitively normal subjects. Upon validation, the model showed 84% accuracy, 93% sensitivity and 82% specificity in detecting Alzheimer’s disease. In the multi-ethnic, multi-country datasets, the AI model achieved accuracies ranging from 80% to 92%.
Accessibility, non-invasiveness and high cost-effectiveness of the AI model using fundus photography help the detection of Alzheimer’s cases both in the clinic and the community
A Professor of Medicine and Director of the Therese Pei Fong Chow Research Centre for Prevention of Dementia at CU Medicine stated that in addition to its accessibility and non-invasiveness, the accuracy of the new AI model is comparable to imaging tests such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).
It shows the potential to become not only a diagnostic test in clinics but also a screening tool for Alzheimer’s disease in community settings. Looking ahead, the team aims to validate its efficacy in identifying high-risk cases of the disease hidden in the community, so that various preventive treatments such as anti-amyloid drugs can be initiated early to slow down cognitive decline and brain damage.
The Associate Professor in the Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences at CU Medicine said that in addition to applying novel AI technologies in the model, the team also tested it in different scenarios. Notably, their AI model retained a robust ability to differentiate between subjects with and without Alzheimer’s disease, even in the presence of concomitant eye diseases like macular degeneration and glaucoma which are common in city-dwellers and the older population.
Their results further support the hypothesis that the team’s AI analysis of fundus photographs is an excellent tool for the detection of memory-depriving Alzheimer’s disease. To move this research towards clinical application, the team is developing an integrated, AI-based platform to combine information from both blood vessels and nerves of the retina captured by fundus photography and optical coherence tomography for the detection of Alzheimer’s disease. Their findings should provide more evidence to move AI from code to the real world.
The Ministry of Information and Communications (MIC) announced it would roll out Internet advertising management measures at a conference in Hanoi earlier this week. Participants at the event discussed how advertising in cyberspace has become the norm. Domestic and foreign firms choose it because it is easier to access customers and it offers flexible costs and larger reach. However, the limited management of ads poses potential risks to the safety of brands, the Ministry has said.
According to a press release by MIC, ad agents affirmed that without the cooperation of cross-border platforms in modifying algorithms to filter and censor content, ad violations will remain rampant. The Ministry will penalise agents and brands that cooperate with platforms that do not fall in line with MIC regulations. On the other hand, the Ministry will support ads on domestic and foreign digital platforms that comply with domestic laws, MIC’s Deputy Minister, Nguyen Thanh Lam, noted. This will protect brands and build a healthy, safe, and fair ad business environment.
The Ministry will also increase inspection and clampdown on violations of Internet ads activities, he said. Cross-border ad firms that fail to comply with Vietnam’s laws will not be allowed to operate in the country. MIC has also generated a Whitelist consisting of licensed e-newspapers, magazines, general information websites, and social media. Other websites, registered accounts, and information channels are also in the pipeline for the list, the release said. The list will be publicised on the portals of the Ministry and Authority of Broadcasting and Electronic Information. Ad service providers, agents, and brands were also urged to use the list for their work.
Nearly 80% of the population in Vietnam are digital consumers, as OpenGov Asia reported earlier in October. Over the past year, the average contribution of e-commerce to total retail has continued to grow at 15%. Higher than growth in India (10%) and China (4%), with an online-to-total retail share of 6%. Now that the world is in the post-pandemic stage, regional consumers are prioritising an integrated shopping experience, combining online and in-person services. During the ‘discovery’ phase of their shopping, 84% of Vietnamese shoppers use the Internet to browse and find items. This is a period when they use more platforms than ever before, with the dominance of the e-commerce market accounting for 51% of online spending.
At the same time, social networking sites account for nearly half of online discoveries, including images (16%), social media videos (22%), and related tools such as messaging (9%). These tools were paramount channels for 44% of survey respondents. Consumers’ openness to interaction and experimentation has also led to behavioural changes, with 64% of respondents saying they have interacted with a business account in the past year. As customers seek more engagement, the content creation economy is able to grow exponentially.
In the context of digital consumption, Vietnamese users switch brands more often and increase the number of platforms they use to find a better value, with 22% of online orders made on various e-commerce platforms. The number of online platforms Vietnamese consumers use has doubled from 8 in 2021 to 16 in 2022. Therefore, it is important to put in place proper ad regulations as Internet usage grows.