Cabinet reshuffle: Gobind trends on X as experts call for focus on cybersecurity, digitalisation

On X, Gobind’s appointment is a trending topic with over 5,000 posts. — ART CHEN/The Star

PETALING JAYA: All eyes will be on Gobind Singh Deo as he takes on the role of Digital Minister in the newly reshuffled cabinet. He last served as the Communications and Multimedia Minister from 2018 to 2020.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim said “digital transformation is a major focus for the government” after unveiling the new cabinet line-up at a press conference today. He also announced Datuk Ugak Anak Kumbong as deputy digital minister.

Malaysia Cyber Consumer Association president Siraj Jalil said it will be interesting to see what will be part of Gobind's portfolio.

“The digital segment is wide. One of the things I would like to see the ministry do is hasten the progress of digitalisation in Malaysia,” he said.

Siraj said Malaysia needs to play a bigger role in developing its own digital ecosystem, with an emphasis on local talents and products.

“We also need to focus on strengthening our cybersecurity, especially in the government sector. I believe a lot of people are looking forward to seeing more changes in terms of enforcement and protection of our personal data,” he added.

Siraj said the ministry should look to Japan, which appointed a minister for digital transformation last year whose tasks include digital reforms and formulating guidelines for digital IDs.

Dr Suhaidi Hassan, professor of computing networks at Universiti Utara Malaysia, also felt that cybersecurity should be one of the key concerns for the new ministry.

“Especially with the deployment of the MyDigital ID, there have been many complaints and concerns about its implementation and data security measures.

“I hope the ministry will consider including more Malaysians from civil technical societies and even engaging the youth in the process,” he said.

He also raised concerns about censorship on social media, highlighting that some users may have been unfairly targeted.

“I find it worrying when opinions that are not even overly critical of the government or ongoing social issues have to be taken down. I believe some form of constructive criticism should be allowed on social media,” he said.

He also hopes to see the ministry push for Malaysia to have a bigger role in the international digital landscape, such as in the UN-backed Internet Governance Forum, which calls for participation to establish the Internet as a whole, inclusive and rights-respecting ecosystem.

Pikom chairman Ong Chin Seong said the association has been calling for a ministry with a single focus to ensure that the digitalisation agenda can be fully realised.

“We want to see the new ministry help create a bigger market for tech products and services to ensure that SMEs (small and medium-sized enterprises) don’t lose out.

“We hope to see more initiatives to help more companies venture internationally,” he said.

While it’s crucial to keep up with the pace of technology, Ong said there is also a need to ensure that certain segments of society are not left out.

“Any aspects of digitalisation should consider how those, such as the marginalised or the urban poor, who may not have consistent access to technology, can still be a part of the process,” he added.

On X (formerly Twitter), Gobind’s appointment is a trending topic with over 5,000 posts.

Users like Dr. Nimelesh (@HausofHilton) hope to see Internet plans become "cheaper and faster" with Gobind's return, crediting him as the first minister to push telcos to lower their prices.

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