Sunday 19 May 2024
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KUALA LUMPUR (Feb 27): The government is mulling a new legislation to introduce a ‘kill switch’ to allow any scam activity to be halted immediately on any online domains or platforms in Malaysia.

This is as existing laws and regulations are not in tune with current technological advancements, a working committee on online scams led by the government found.

Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Law and Institutional Reforms) Datuk Seri Azalina Othman Said, who co-chaired the committee, said it found an “urgent need” for the kill switch system to be introduced.

“The Madani government is in the process of drafting a new Bill, which covers legislations relating to procedures and enforcement of the ‘kill switch’ to improve digital safety, in details and clear manner, in line with current needs and technological advancements, including artificial intelligence, and [considering] rising cyber crime activities,” she told the Dewan Rakyat on Tuesday.

Other laws are also being reviewed to allow the return of stolen funds to victims, including the Anti-Money Laundering, Anti-Terrorism Financing and Proceeds of Unlawful Activities Act 2001, Penal Code, and Criminal Procedure Code, she added.

In 2023, Malaysia recorded RM1.3 billion in losses through online fraud, involving 32,462 cases. The biggest component was fake investment scams, which stole a recorded RM421 million.

Malaysia’s National Scam Response Centre, reachable via calling '997', recorded 71,631 calls from Oct 12, 2022 to Jan 31, 2024, involving losses of RM245 million, Azalina said.

Malaysian banks has also introduced a kill switch since last year, which allows potential victims to instantly freeze their accounts should they encounter suspicious activities on their accounts.

The Royal Malaysian Police also introduced a mobile application named SemakMule to identify bank accounts and phone numbers identified by the police as having been used by scammers.

For more Parliament stories, click here.

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