Cybersecurity crucial in digital age

Towards a digital tomorrow: (From left) Prof Abdul Jalil, Eian, moderator Dr Noor Afiza Mat Razali, Hanafiah and Imai discussing the future of innovation. — IZZRAFIQ ALIAS/The Star

National policies are crucial for guiding the development of digital transformation (DX) and the implementation of artificial intelligence (AI), particularly in critical industry sectors.

Given the widespread accessibility of various electronic devices, Malaysia-Japan Digital Transformation and Innovation Seminar 2023 panellist Dr Hanafiah Yussof said guidelines were needed to streamline the collaboration between industry and the government to ensure a secure digital landscape so that user information cannot be accessed by malicious parties.

Hanafiah, who is the founder and group chief executive officer of Robopreneur, a service robotics technology and solutions provider, was speaking at Management and Science University (MSU) on Nov 27.

He said higher education institutions play a crucial role in shaping the future, particularly in cultivating a talented pool of individuals essential for advancing in the fields of DX and the widespread adoption of AI.

“Higher education holds the key to transforming our nation.

“These institutions need to develop curricula that are aligned with industry demands because companies are pushing for DX and these organisations need a local supply of talents with skills and are able to adapt to change,” he added.

Other panellists present were MSU Industry Linkages and Entrepreneurship senior vice-president Prof Dr Abdul Jalil Ghazali, Kuala Lumpur and Selangor Federation of Malaysian Manufacturers (FMM) chairman Dr Helena Eian Yeut Lan, and Sony Network Communications Incorporated managing director Hiroshi Imai.

Eian said there has been an improvement in the emergence of the requisite skill set from graduates, a development crucial for the country’s embrace of DX.

“Students must proactively seek to acquire the appropriate skill set during their academic journey.

“By doing so, upon graduation, they will be highly sought after by industries hungry for talented individuals,” she said.

Prof Abdul Jalil said much like other institutions, MSU accelerated the adoption of online learning, particularly during the peak of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Additionally, blockchain technology was introduced to secure alumni scrolls and to work with international associations on initiatives such as blockchain certification for halal products.

He said the varsity strongly encourages students to employ tools like ChatGPT so that they can optimise their time and learning.

“However, you must exercise caution when using such tools because there is currently no regulatory framework to govern the information disseminated by OpenAI.

“It is also important to understand the importance of technical skills and the humanising aspect of technology when we talk about digitalisation,” he said.

Agreeing, Imai said while having strong technical skills is crucial, it is equally important to cultivate a keen sense of awareness, curiosity and adaptability to be able to thrive in a digital working environment.

Jointly organised by MSU and Malaysia Japan Relation Association, the seminar provided a comprehensive overview of DX efforts in various sectors, highlighting the significance of cybersecurity as an integral part of the ongoing revolution as well as the current needs of the digital industry.

During the event, an exchange of a memorandum of understanding (MoU) between MSU, Mitsui & Co., Ltd, Sony Network Communications Incorporated, and Kintone Southeast Asia was held to enrich DX and innovation collaborative efforts between the parties.

The half-day event also saw keynote presentations by Communications and Digital Ministry Infrastructure and Application Division undersecretary Mohd Nazrol Marzuke and Japan’s Internal Affairs and Communications Ministry International Digital Infrastructure Promotion Division (Global Strategy Bureau) deputy director Shiori Komori.

Mohd Nazrol said Malaysia is already looking beyond 5G technology while Shiori underscored Japan’s acceleration in the promotion of digital transformation under the “Digital Garden City Nation Initiative”.

“Our vision will serve as a benchmark to solve regional issues using digital technologies in both private and public sectors as well as rural areas,” said Komori.

Also present at the seminar were Communications and Digital Minister Fahmi Fadzil, MSU president Prof Tan Sri Dr Mohd Shukri Ab Yajid and Japan ambassador to Malaysia Takahashi Katsuhiko.

In his speech, Fahmi said the seminar was timely and relevant in view of the growing interest in various technologies and entrepreneurial aspects of the economy.

The alliance between Malaysia and Japan, he said, extends beyond borders and has fostered economic growth and mutual prosperity.

Japan, as one of Malaysia’s most important trading partners, has played a pivotal role in shaping the country’s economic landscape, with investments amounting to a substantial RM91.89bil as of June this year, he said.

The figures, while impressive, merely scratch the surface of what this partnership can achieve, he added.

“Malaysia has the potential to be the gateway for Japanese industry players seeking to explore the vast digital economic landscape in the Asean region,” he said, adding that the seminar went beyond the exchange of knowledge and would contribute to the co-creation of solutions that address real-world challenges and contribute meaningfully to economic growth.

Prof Mohd Shukri, in his opening address, said initiatives done in collaboration with organisations from Japan are aligned with MSU’s focus on entrepreneurship, industry, and technology-embedded ecosystems.

“Hopefully, with the knowledge gained today, we can open up digital transformation and innovation opportunities and career paths for our students,” he said.

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