Malaysia, Australia to work closely on cybersecurity

KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 6 — The fourth Malaysia-Australia Annual Foreign Ministers’ Meeting (AFMM) convened in the Malaysian capital on Saturday where both countries discussed the importance of cooperation in cybersecurity, among others.

Malaysian Foreign Minister Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah said cybersecurity is now the leading non-traditional security threat of the world involving many sectors such as corporate, government and defence.

“There was a general understanding, between the two of us, that our people should start talking to each other on some of these issues.

“I offered the professional agency that we have, CyberSecurity Malaysia, as probably the organisation to start the discussion rolling,” he said in a joint press conference after co-chairing the AFMM meeting with his Australian counterpart Senator Marise Payne.

The meeting was the first AFMM after the Prime Ministers of Malaysia and Australia launched the Comprehensive Strategic Partnership (CSP) on Jan 27, 2021.

Meanwhile, Payne said Australia has launched an International Cybersecurity and Critical Technologies Engagement Strategy earlier this year, and the country wants to work closely with Malaysia on that aspect.

“We are both very conscious that our communities need to be safe online. That includes through the good and the bad of the impact of social media on our communities particularly on girls and women. And that is something that I look forward to working together with Malaysia on as well,” she said.

On bilateral trade, Payne acknowledged that there has been some decline, but Australia and Malaysia have the advantage of the CSP which enables the two countries to work under its pillar of economic prosperity.

“We have a high degree of complementarity between our two economies, and using this CSP to maximise that complementarity is the key,” she added.

Apart from the existing free trade agreements (FTAs) involving both countries, namely the Malaysia-Australia Free Trade Agreement (MAFTA) and the Asean-Australia-New Zealand Free Trade Area (AANZFTA), she said Australia had also ratified the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) that will certainly be part of driving the trade and economic recovery from 2021 to 2022.

Payne is on a three-day working visit to Malaysia from Friday until Nov 7.

During the visit, she is also scheduled to hold meetings with Senior Minister of Defence Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein and Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin. — Bernama

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