Minister hopes Biden can help ease China-US technological, trade wars

Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah speaks during an interview on Bernama TV in Kuala Lumpur, January 21, 2021. — Bernama pic
Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah speaks during an interview on Bernama TV in Kuala Lumpur, January 21, 2021. — Bernama pic

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KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 21 — It is hoped that the appointment of Joe Biden as the new President of the United States of America will help ease the technological and trade wars between China and the US, said Communications and Multimedia Minister Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah.

He said that this was because if the war between the two superpowers continued, Asean countries would find themselves being caught in between.

“Many among the Asean nations have sympathy towards China and its technology. Many have also started using them, including Malaysia I mean not the government, but private and telecommunication companies.

“But there was a fear of retaliation by the United States but now we all hope there is more calm and stability,” he said in an interview on the Ruang Bicara programme, titled “The First Asean Digital Ministers Meeting (ADGMIN1): Empowerment of the Asean Digital Ecosystem”, on Bernama TV today.

He said this when asked about Asean and its digital future following the swearing-in of Biden as the 46th president of the US yesterday. 

Looking at the 17 executive orders signed by Biden immediately after his swearing-in, Saifuddin said he believed that the multilateral spirit held by Asean could be revived by the new US administration, thus providing relief to the Asean nations.

“So, when the US President shows that he is more moderate and multilateral, usually Asean will feel more relieved,” he said.

Commenting on the issue of cybersecurity, Saifuddin said it was a complex matter that needed to be jointly addressed and coordinated properly by Asean countries.

He said Malaysia was among the two countries with the best performance in terms of ability to address cybersecurity issues, including the formation of CyberSecurity Malaysia (CSM), and that his ministry was ready to offer CSM to play a role in assisting other Asean countries.

“There was a report tabled at the meeting (ADGMIN1) this afternoon that Malaysia and Singapore will lead cybersecurity efforts and Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin clearly stated that this is among the main things that Asean leaders should look into,” he said. 

The two-day ADGMIN1, themed ‘Asean — A Digitally Connected Community’, began today and is aimed at strengthening cooperation among Asean countries towards building digital ecosystems as a pillar in the post-Covid-19 development plan.

The virtual meeting acts as a forum for exchanging views and policies with regard to the use of spectrum for telecommunications as well as matters related to the telecommunication industry in the region. — Bernama

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