Need for cyber law training
30th November 2001 (The Star)

KUALA LUMPUR: Training for the judiciary, prosecution and police in cyber laws is crucial so that they will be better equipped to deal with computer-related crimes.

Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Datuk Seri Dr Rais Yatim said discussions were being held with the Chief Justice to incorporate it into the IT training for judges which is scheduled to take off next year.

The relevant authorities and the private sector would be asked to contribute to the training, adding that the course content for judges would be information-based whereas that for the police and deputy public prosecutors would include the technological details of information technology, Dr Rais told reporters after delivering the keynote address at the Jagat Cyber Law Seminar Series jointly organised by Jagat Technology Group and the Energy, Communications and Multimedia Ministry.

On another matter, he said Malaysia may find it difficult to take part in cross-border trade and commercial activities unless it implements its own data protection law.

He said the European Union Data Protection Directive required member nations to ensure that the law protects personal information relating to European citizens when it is transmitted outside of Europe.

The directive also blocks personal information from flowing into countries without data protection legislation.

All IT-related legislation currently in existence in Malaysia, according to Dr Rais, did not cover rights of privacy.

"An individual has his personal records almost all over the place; in the bank, in the credit card company, in the insurance company or in any nook and cranny that he chooses to deposit information pertaining to his person," he said earlier in his address.

"Malaysian law still lags behind in the need to protect the individual from trauma arising from personal data loss. I believe there is now a need to protect the individual from the unscrupulous acts of others."

He said it was also timely for Asean nations to emulate Europe and come up with a uniform set of data protection policies, which would help facilitate regional cyber law enforcement.

According to Dr Rais, Malaysia was seeing little development in data protection and that is why the Government was serious in creating a Data Protection Act.

He cited the recent leak in the Certificate in Legal Practice examination as an instance where such a law could be applied if it had been created.