Access to secure Internet vital for digital economy growth

by S BIRRUNTHA / pic Bloomberg

THE universal access to secure and reliable Internet connectivity is critical to the growth of the digital economy in Malaysia.

Acasia Communications Sdn Bhd CEO Syahrir Nizam Jalis said this was because digital infrastructure forms the basis for all digital transformation in the country.

He added that without data centres, cloud service providers and Internet service providers would not be able to perform even the most basic tasks of today’s technology, such as emailing and using other digital services.

“So, before we study an advanced digital infrastructure option, such as 5G towers and hyperscale data centres, it is important to make sure that we have the ability to access a secure and reliable Internet connection.

“This is what serves as a bedrock for the growth of the digital economy in the country,” he said during the Advocacy Talks with Acasia Communications organised by Eurocham Malaysia yesterday.

Syahrir also highlighted that increasingly sophisticated interconnection contexts — such as industrial Internet of Things (IoT) and smart city are set to transform our digital future and have a substantial impact on economies around the globe.

However, he said they are simply unfeasible without secure, reliable and easily accessible high-speed digital infrastructure.

Therefore, he noted that even the most successful economies must quickly adapt to these fundamental changes to maintain their international competitiveness. 

Commenting further, Syahrir said Acasia is a unique Asean collaboration among seven leading telecommunications (telco) providers and will help to connect global business to Asean, which is one of the fastest-growing regions in the world.

Acasia is a fully equipped and comprehensive suite of connectivity services and digital infrastructure in the Asean region that enables global businesses to bridge services offered in the region

“Acasia acts as a single point of contact for all connectivity services within Asean, giving power to businesses across the globe who are looking to tap into the South-East Asian region.

“Shared collaborations within Acasia in the Asean region ensure data sovereignty, enabling data to reside in countries where data is collected unless approval is provided,” he said.

Currently, Malaysia is working towards protecting the nation’s digital sovereignty by introducing various policies and frameworks in order to enact controls and ensure that organisations tighten their data security.

Ministry of Communications and Multimedia secretary general Datuk Seri Mohammad Mentek had previously noted that as of 2021, about 100 countries have some forms of existing data sovereignty laws and in Malaysia, the notion of data sovereignty is reflected in some of the existing legal and policy frameworks.

He added that under the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission, this country has the National Policy Objectives of the Communications and Multimedia Act 1998; the National Cyber Security 2006 which was introduced by the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation; and also, the Personal Data Protection Act 2010.

“All the policies encompass a comprehensive cross-sectoral framework to protect personal data in commercial transactions and play an important role in helping companies address data sovereignty issues, while at the same time ensuring information security, network reliability and integrity, as well as secure and resilient infrastructure,” he said.