KUALA LUMPUR (Jan 21): With technology evolving at a rapid pace and so does the emergence of new cyberthreats and new challenges, Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said ASEAN members can no longer operate and work in isolation.
Muhyiddin stressed that there must be a mechanism to enable the existing laws to be applied in cyberspace, and new laws be enacted if the need arises, as he emphasises that Malaysia is committed to providing greater efficiency and connectivity for people across the region.
“Malaysia recognises the cross-border nature of cybercrimes and the challenges in bringing cybercriminals to justice as this requires a coordinated and integrated regional approach,” said Muhyiddin, in his keynote address, at the first Asean Digital Ministers Meeting (ADGMIN1) this morning.
As technology now offers the prospect of leapfrogging in development through a new digital context, he said the main challenge right now is staying ahead of the curve in two principal areas: mitigating cybercrime and advancing the digital economy.
He noted that ASEAN’s national enforcement agencies must be equipped with state-of-the-art tools to fight cybercrime, such as in digital forensics, and must also be fully integrated regionwide to be really effective against cross-border transgressions.
“There can be no acceptable reason for falling short. The member states should have more resources and determination than criminal syndicates,” he said.
He also expressed Malaysia’s willingness to share the country’s expertise and experiences with the ASEAN member states.
“We must be mindful that cyberthreats are rapidly changing and encroaching into every sphere of our lives, including how we communicate, how we work, how we conduct online transactions, how we carry out purchases and even how we defend our national security. They have also become more sophisticated, complicated and transboundary in nature,” he added.
As such, Muhyiddin said Malaysia is moving towards these security objectives, while at the same time fostering economic prosperity for the well-being of all ASEAN member countries.
On top of this, he suggested that ASEAN could consider setting up a fund as a means of improving digital and Internet infrastructure among the member states.
“I am confident that ADGMIN1 will be able to strengthen the cooperation among ASEAN countries in developing a digital ecosystem as the backbone of its post-Covid-19 development plan,” said Muhyiddin, adding that the digital economy is uniquely placed to “boost our economies structurally and sustainably”.
Muhyiddin also reiterated that the Malaysian government had identified the digital economy as one of the key economic growth areas.
“We will drive forward the promise of shared prosperity for all by focusing on empowering Malaysians with digital skills, enabling digitally-powered businesses and driving digital investments,” he said.