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HomeMalaysia NewsData Governance Concerns Emerge as Padu Database Precedes Promised Omnibus Act

Data Governance Concerns Emerge as Padu Database Precedes Promised Omnibus Act

Economy Minister Rafizi Ramli’s assurance that data processed by the Central Database System (Padu database) will adhere to existing laws has stirred concerns amid previous data leakages involving government agencies. The pledge, echoed by Malaysian Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC) chairman Syed Ibrahim Noh, seeks to reassure citizens about Padu’s regulatory framework. However, longstanding apprehensions about the adequacy of current laws, particularly the exemption of Federal and State governments under the Personal Data Protection Act 2010 (PDPA), raise questions about data governance.

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Challenges in the Current Legal Framework:

Central to the concerns is the limitation of the PDPA, notably Section 3(1), exempting Federal and State governments from its purview. Critics argue that this exemption undermines the legislation’s objectives and significantly constrains its impact. The decade-long contention over the PDPA’s narrow scope and broad limitations has fueled uncertainty regarding data protection in Malaysia.

Promised Legislative Remedy:

Rafizi’s announcement of the forthcoming Omnibus Bill aims to rectify these shortcomings. According to Syed Ibrahim, the proposed legislation is designed to prevent abuse by irresponsible parties and bolster overall data governance. However, the decision to roll out Padu before enacting the Omnibus Act raises concerns. Critics contend that this approach might be premature, emphasizing the need for robust legal safeguards before the full-scale implementation of data-intensive systems like Padu.

Safeguarding Data Integrity:

While government officials seek to allay concerns, the efficacy of laws governing data protection and governance remains a critical focus. As Malaysia grapples with the dynamic digital data landscape, striking a balance between innovation and safeguarding individual privacy becomes paramount. The impending Omnibus Act holds the potential to address existing gaps, but its timely introduction and alignment with Padu’s implementation will be closely scrutinized in the context of escalating awareness regarding data vulnerabilities and privacy issues.