Inside Malaysia’s engine for the digital economy

18 August 2021

Telekom Malaysia Berhad (TM)‘s appointment as the sole Malaysian cloud service provider (CSP) by the Malaysian government last April opens the door for the establishment and reinforcement of public services with sustainable connected data cloud computing infrastructure that is secured with full data residency and sovereignty in Malaysia.

National cloud based education and healthcare platform, agile cloud based tax, transport and registry system, smart services with analytics, disaster warnings, and even solving traffic congestion. The application of cloud computing allows public services to provide data driven services and application to solve many public challenges with the flexibility, agility and speed to respond faster, efficiently and effectively during peak demands at lower operating cost. Many facets of society benefit from the invaluable adoption of the cloud by the public sector.

According to analysts, three of the typical hallmarks of a developed digital economy centre - capabilities, the level of ‘connectedness’, and competitiveness - are well served by the expert implementation and use of Cloud services. TM ONE, TM’s enterprise and public sector business solutions arm, shares how its expertise and comprehensive suite of digital solutions are making an impact on the lives of Malaysians.

Cloud as the key to unlocking innovation

The Cloud is unlocking big data, artificial intelligence (AI) and the internet of things (IoT) for governments, thereby opening the doors to improve citizens’ lives. In Malaysia, Cloud services have been used to stimulate economic and health recovery through the MySejahtera app. The Cloud enables the app’s system to handle large amounts of traffic at the same time, compared to on-premises capabilities.

The app allows citizens to record their visits to any business or even private premises by scanning QR codes. If they have been exposed to a confirmed case of COVID-19, authorities can communicate directly with citizens and point them to the nearest healthcare provider.

Most other public services in Malaysia have shifted online thanks to the Cloud. Citizens can now register for vaccinations and check national exam results digitally. The Ministry of Finance (MOF) has also used Cloud-powered analytics to monitor the implementation of various assistance programmes.

“The possibilities are endless when talking about the innovative public services that can be deployed, powered by Cloud,” said Mohamad Rejab Sulaiman, Head of Product and Innovations at TM One. “Whether in public healthcare, digital education, public safety, digital Government, smart cities or empowering communities’ for social and economic wellbeing, countless smart solutions can be rolled out to enhance the lives of all Malaysians. This is one of the objectives of the Government’s MyDIGITAL, and TM One is always ready with our comprehensive suite of digital solutions to support this national agenda.”

Apart from being the sole Malaysian CSP, another edge for TM One lies in its multi-cloud offerings. Alongside Cloud Connect Sdn Bhd, which was appointed as the Managed Service Provider, the TM One-Cloud Connect tag team is able to support Government institutions in Malaysia regardless of their choice of Cloud infrastructure. In addition, its Cloud management platform allows Government agencies to manage their multi-Cloud deployments seamlessly and conveniently from a single console.

Ensuring cybersecurity

Malaysia lost RM490 million (US$119 million) to cybercrime in 2019, according to the Malaysia Computer Emergency Response Team. In mitigating this, TM One has set up the Cyber Defence Centre (CYDEC) to help strengthen the nation’s defences against malicious cyber-attacks.

“CYDEC can detect, respond, predict and prevent cyber threats originating from a range of platforms and channels including 5G, Cloud, IoT and more. The cybersecurity services offered under CYDEC provide users with added assurance knowing their data is kept secure,” he added.

The geographical location of where data is being stored constitutes an important aspect of the security of a government’s cloud systems. Data is subject to the legislation of the country in which it is hosted, which engenders complications, wrote TechRadar.

For example, in 2016, voter registration data of more than 93 million Mexican citizens were found to be accessible to the public. The country’s election institute held personal information about citizens on an unprotected Amazon cloud server hosted outside of Mexico.

TM ensures that Government data resides solely in Malaysia, said Rejab. This will help “serve and protect the data privacy of Malaysians”, he explained.

Widening broadband access

In the follow up to TM’s appointment as CSP, it will continue its work to enhance internet access across the country. As more citizens work and study remotely in the new normal and beyond, high speed and reliable connectivity have become a crucial utility and enabler of the economy. This was evidenced by the surge in Internet traffic arising largely from the emergence of COVID-19 related lockdowns - but throughflow speeds saw a reduction of up to 40 per cent, according to Jalinan Digital Negara (JENDELA).

To help address this, TM One will serve as “an active and major contributor” to expand Malaysia’s fibre broadband network. It plans to connect public mobile towers to the network, and not just private homes and businesses.

The Cloud has demonstrated its massive potential to positively impact the lives of citizens, not only in Malaysia but across the world. Governments are now better positioned with greater awareness of how digital innovation can unlock real-world improvements for its citizens.

This article was first published on GovInsider.Asia

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