KUALA LUMPUR, April 10 — Malaysia is working towards setting up a national cybersecurity commission and amend laws on protection of personal data, to counter scammers, Communications and Digital Minister Fahmi Fadzil said today.

Asked about calls to strengthen Malaysia’s laws to punish hackers and scammers, Fahmi said efforts are underway to enhance protection of Malaysians’ data.

“Under the ministry, we are looking at several key and very important legislative amendments, including, we are working to amend the Personal Data Protection Act to make it more robust.

“To make sure those who hold onto data are more responsible about protecting the data that is under their custody, and to ensure more sectors are covered. Because, in this day and age, almost every sector has some kind of data that it processes or it keeps,” he said.

“Secondly, we are having quite deep discussions and quite advanced discussions about merging NACSA (National Cyber Security Agency) and CyberSecurity Malaysia in order for us to move towards forming a National Cybersecurity Commission. We have some ways away, because we would have to bring a piece of legislation to Parliament.

“We have yet to reach a stage where the formation can happen, because we have to bring a Bill to Parliament,” he said.

He said these were among a few matters under his ministry’s jurisdiction that have to be looked at, to ensure Malaysians’ data are protected and cannot be stolen and misused by scammers.

But as scammers could also be those who commit the crime in neighbouring countries while scamming Malaysians and fall outside the legal jurisdiction of Malaysia, Fahmi said there would have to be cooperation between police from Malaysia and those neighbouring countries to take action on syndicates where scammers make phone calls to Malaysia.

He said the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) has also ensured mechanisms to stop scammers’ phone calls or text messages, and that he has asked MCMC to see what else can be done.