Personal Data Protection in the Malaysian E-Government: Has the PDP Act 2010 got any place?

By: Sonny Zulhuda

ImageMajor legal issues on data privacy in Malaysia were resolved with the introduction of the Personal Data Protection Act (PDPA) 2010. Being the main legal framework for protecting data privacy of individuals, PDPA regulates the processing of personal data in commercial transactions and to provide for matters connected therewith.

Under section 4, “personal data” refers to any “data that relates directly or indirectly to a data subject, who is identified or identifiable from that information or from that and other information in the possession of a data user, including any sensitive personal data and expression of opinion about the data subject.”

Meanwhile, “commercial transactions” mean “any transaction of a commercial nature, whether contractual or not, which includes any matters relating to the supply or exchange of goods or services, agency, investments, financing, banking and insurance.”

The enactment of the PDPA is arguably a milestone for the development of e-commerce and e-government in Malaysia, considering that a massive and increasingly valuable amount of personal information are being stored, processed and exploited. However, there is a cause for concern here that the Parliament has expressly excluded the application of PDPA to the Federal Government and State Governments in section 3. Commentators opined that this exclusion would have a far-reaching implication in terms of the development of data protection law in Malaysia. Nevertheless, it is argued that this law can still help protect the security of e-government in Malaysia in one way or another.

Continue reading “Personal Data Protection in the Malaysian E-Government: Has the PDP Act 2010 got any place?”

The Apportionment of Liability on Electronic Commerce in the Arab Countries: A Literature Review

Reported by Sonny Zulhuda

Image The above is the abstract for an academic paper that was presented in the 2nd Global Islamic Marketing Conference (GIMC) 2012 in 16-18 January 2012, Abu Dhabi, UAE. It is originally a working draft of literature review by my student Yahya A.F. for his doctoral research. He himself attended and presented the paper.

Myself being in the supervisory role jointly drafted the summarised review paper for the Conference. Here is the full Abstract:

The increasing popularity of electronic commerce has shown its problematic side, namely the issue of apportionment of liability. Due to the involvement of several intermediaries, it is often uncertain if those intermediaries would assume responsibility, or to what extent if any, should the transaction goes wrong.The current paper, a research in progress, identifies this issue in the context of e-commerce practices in Arab countries with particular attention to the Palestine. It goes further with a literature review on the peculiar issues related to the e-commerce and the apportionment of liability, and ultimately sheds the light on the direction of research needed in future on the areas of e-commerce law both in the Palestine and the Arab countries generally.

The Role of Law in the Digital Environment: A Carrier not Barrier


By: Sonny Zulhuda

Excerpt from my lecture at the Law Faculty of the Universitas Muhammadiyah Yogyakarta (UMY), Indonesia in October 2011.

“In the digital environment where information becomes a currency at both individual and organisational levels, law plays an enormously important role, for at least three reasons.”

Firstly, information assets such as personal data, corporate records, trade secrets and customers database are getting more valuable but increasingly harder to keep or secure. This is due to the increasing sophistication of technologies that enable easy dissemination of data. Secondly, there are always gaps and loopholes where malicious minds are bound to exploit the information assets such as the Steve Jobs-related malware and spam. What ordinarily looks like a genuine message requesting some business venture or technical assistance is a preface for multi-million frauds online; ‘sharing files’ between friends may be another trick for espionage or unauthorised access; and what appears like a routine computer glitch may yet turn to a deadly terrorist acts.

“The fact that the law is often lagging behind the perpetrators does not help the situation either — and this is the third reason that motivates the effort to strengthen the role of the law, it can play a significant deterrent factor by imposing certain liabilities for the culprits.”

The report can be found in the Law School’s web-page.