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Abang Johari delivers his speech.

Premier: S’wak eyes digital identity platform to fight cybersecurity threats

(SAINS News; 20 May, 2023)

KUCHING (May 20): Sarawak is looking forward to implementing a digital identity platform through virtual cards, digital passes and Certification Authority (CA) to address cybersecurity threats, said Premier Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Abang Johari Tun Openg.

He said the platform needs to be one of trust for the purpose of verifying the identity of an individual on the internet and in the cyber world.

According to him, the state’s identity networks and authentication methods are very fragmented, as every organisation has its own ways to determine individuals’ credentials and authentication in their network.

“This disparity is causing a lot of friction and problems when people need to deal with multiple entities in both the public and private sectors. To transact in the digital economy, we require a Trust Economy — we must be able to trust the authenticity of the parties we are dealing with digitally.

“Therefore, in embracing the digital economy conveniently and securely, we must also put in place a framework of trust,” he said in his speech when launching the Asia Pacific Cybersecurity Conference 2023 here on Friday night.

Abang Johar isaid through the platform, all Sarawakians will have a digital passport that would enable them to take their credentials anywhere they go and share them with whomever they want at any time.

On the virtual cards, he said these would allow individuals to access services otherwise impossible for them without telecommunication networks, such as in the rural areas.

“The benefits of virtual cards, powered by digital identity, are enormous, pervasive and impactful — both socially and economically,” he said.

Regarding the Sarawak digital pass, he said the state will be moving towards its own digital pass called Sarawakpass, inspired by Singapore’s working model Singpass.

“The Sarawakpass will become the trusted digital identity for every Sarawakian to access public services provided by various state government departments and agencies as well as private sector services,” he explained.

As for the CA, he said the state government should investigate its creation to secure and safeguard the internet for both organisations and individuals by verifying the authenticity and trustworthiness of cyber entities (websites, domains and organisations).

“With these, Sarawak will have a more complete package of cybersecurity suites,” he said.

Among those present were Deputy Premier Dato Sri Dr Sim Kui Hian, federal Communications and Digital Minister Fahmi Fadzil, Minister of Utility and Telecommunication Datuk Julaihi Narawi, CyberSecurity Malaysia (CSM) chief executive officer Datuk Dr Amirudin Abdul Wahab and Sarawak Information Systems (Sains) chief executive officer Dr Anderson Tiong.

The Borneo Post, by Desiree David, Ian Danald

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