Making “Cloud First” a Reality for Malaysia

With Malaysia embarking on its “Cloud First” strategy to accelerate the Digital Economy, the public and private sectors together with the rakyat can expect more digital transformation initiatives that would make Malaysia a more productive, operationally efficient and conducive country to live in.

The “Cloud First” strategy was first introduced by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak after chairing the 29th MSC Malaysia Implementation Council Meeting in October last year.

“Cloud adoption will enable the government to rapidly deliver innovative public sector services to the rakyat without incurring high levels of capital expenditure to invest in IT infrastructure such as data centres, servers and storage,” said Datuk Seri Najib.

Greater adoption of cloud services is also expected to benefit the government from state-of-the-art security infrastructure as well as collaborative platforms that would ease services deployment amongst government agencies and also with the rakyat.

“This enables the government to allocate resources for more impactful programmes for the rakyat. With this strategy in place, there is no doubt the government is taking the lead in embracing digital transformation,” he added.

The “Cloud First” strategy is defined as a method of faster delivery of information technology services like data sharing and online transactions in which resources are retrieved from the Internet through web-based tools and applications, as opposed to a direct connection to a server. In addition, there is usually less capital expenditure as opposed to more than a decade ago when there was a need to invest in traditional IT infrastructures such as servers and storage.

The Malaysian Government can also facilitate the adoption of Cloud by the private sector.

Earlier this month, the Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC) together with Malaysian Investment Development Authority (MIDA) announced the Digital Transformation Acceleration Programme (DTAP) aimed at providing Malaysian companies with a structured approach to digital transformation.

Established for large corporations and mid-tier companies, DTAP is an outcome-driven programme aimed at encourage them to embrace emerging digital technologies for greater productivity and operational efficiencies, while reducing foreign labour dependency and to explore new sources of growth.

“Digital disruption is inevitable; it is the way of the world now. It is imperative for businesses to embrace the cloud to successfully integrate digital technologies to their business processes,” said MDEC chief executive officer Datuk Yasmin Mahmood at the event.

MIDA chief executive officer Dato’ Azman Mahmud concurred. “MIDA has been working with MDEC to structure the DTAP towards lifting Malaysian industry players in the priority sectors to assist them in their digital adoption journey,” he added.

Although the growth of the digital economy and the journey to the cloud bring about various benefits, there is also a need to relook at how services and operations are managed.

This stems from the reality that, with technology moving so fast and constantly evolving, the necessary public policies need to be implemented to address new opportunities and challenges. This situation is confounding governments throughout the world.

The United States was one of the world’s first countries to be proactive and, recently, its CLOUD (Clarifying Lawful overseas Use of Data) Act was signed into law.

The CLOUD Act is said to be a framework to address the “tricky balance” of the protection of fundamental individual privacy rights and cross-border data access by law enforcement agencies from various governments.

Similarly for Malaysia, for government and businesses to continuously digitally transform and for the country to emerge as a regional leader in cloud services, we would also need to look at enacting the relevant public policies through the issuance of progressive guidelines

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