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Minister in Prime Minister's Department in charge of Legal Affairs Datuk Seri Azalina Othman (sixth from left) at the 8th Event of the Attorney General's Chambers of Brunei Darussalam, Malaysia and Singapore, today. Pix by Mohd Fadli Hamzah

PUTRAJAYA: Malaysia is keen on exploring the possibility of becoming a member to the Budapest Convention on Cybercrime, also known as the Budapest Convention.

Minister in Prime Minister's Department in charge of Legal Affairs Datuk Seri Azalina Othman said Malaysia acknowledges the Budapest Convention as the first multilateral treaty, and the only existing multilateral treaty in dealing with crimes committed via the internet and other computer networks and the traditional offences committed by means of computer system.

She said the government has formed several committees within various government departments including law enforcement agencies.

“They are tasked with studying the provisions in the convention and determine the policy, legal, technical and administrative requirements that Malaysia needs to fulfil,” she said.

She said the studies on Malaysia's legislation framework have identified that the Computer Crimes Act 1997 (CCA) and Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters Act 2002 (MACMA) need to be amended to fulfil the legal requirements under the convention.

Azalina was speaking at the launch of the 8th Event of the Attorney General's Chambers of Brunei Darussalam, Malaysia and Singapore, today.

The convention, drawn up by the Council of Europe in Strasbourg, France in 2001, aimed at providing for domestic criminal procedural law powers, necessary for the investigation and prosecution of cybercrimes.

The convention also strives to set up a fast and effective regime of international cooperation.

Among its signatories are Canada, Japan, the United States, and South Africa, Australia, Canada, Dominican Republic, Israel, Japan, Mauritius, Panama and Sri Lanka.

Azalina said the widespread technology used, especially through connective and social media, has had a profound impact on issues ranging from crime prevention and law enforcement.

“Some of the impacts are privacy of individuals and protection of minors, employees' rights, management of public expectation and perception of government action.

“These different segments have posed regulatory challenges for the authorities and enforcement agencies under whose purview they come," she added.

She admitted that it is undeniable that a more comprehensive framework is required to deal with the evolving nature of wrongdoings and crimes committed through and in the virtual world.

“I would only encourage more discussion and dialogue among the legal experts in this forum. It is hoped that any positive outcomes would trigger further action and intergovernmental cooperation among our respective policy and enforcement stakeholders," she said.

Present at the forum were Attorney-General Tan Sri Mohamed Apandi Ali, Singapore Attorney-General Lucien Wong, and Brunei Attorney-General Datin Seri Paduka Hajah Hayati binti Pehin Orang Kaya Shahbandar Dato Seri Paduka Haji Mohd Salleh.

Apandi said among the three areas identified as topics for discussion for the forum are international trade, social media and legislation.

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