Teachers Helping Other Teachers to Go Digital

The future of work is now fully upon us. In this new normal, critical thinking and problem solving are key requirements for any career in the digital age. With the pervasive use of computers in all realms of our lives, there is global consensus that these essential skills should be coupled with computer science concepts. This combination of skills is referred to as Computational Thinking.

MDEC has been working closely with MoE to integrate computational thinking (CT) into the national school curriculum and teacher training since 2017. From 2017 to 2020, 88,000 teachers have been trained in CT in partnership with MoE and selected public universities nationwide.  Out of these, MDEC has unearthed 56 teachers who have outstanding computational thinking and digital skills, and who are also passionate about sharing their knowledge with other teachers.

These teachers have been given the title of “Cikgu Juara Digital” (#CJD) and by 2025 MDEC intends to identify 250 CJDs, or 2 CJDs per education district. #CJD will play the role of inspiring and guiding teachers in their respective districts, in CT and digital skills. #CJDs will continue to upgrade their skills via continuous professional development courses provided by MDEC and its industry partners. In this way, the #CJDs play a key role in cascading essential digital skills to teachers at the grassroots level.

In order to support the #CJDs in sharing their knowledge with other teachers, MDEC has facilitated the establishment of Professional Learning Communities (PLCs) in various regions of the country. These PLCs bring #CJDs together with other teachers to share expertise and work collaboratively, in order to guide teachers on integrating CT and other digital skills into their teaching and learning approaches. Under the auspices of these PLCs, MDEC and 56 #CikguJuaraDigital (#CJD) kicked off live webinars focusing on CT, in October 2021. These highly interactive sessions covered the six concepts of CT – Abstraction, Decomposition, Patterning, Algorithm, Logical Reasoning and Evaluation, and how CT skills are applied in teaching and learning.

Five webinars were conducted in various regional zones – Northern, Central, Eastern, East Coast and West Malaysia, where the #CJD community in each zone took part as the organising committee and led the sharing sessions.

In total, the 5 webinars garnered more than 6,000 educators. Participants included teachers from national schools, the Institute of Teacher Education (IPGM) lecturers and pre-service teachers, as well as private school teachers. The webinars extremely well received by participants who hailed from urban as well as rural areas. For example, Puan Mary Ann Serdina, an officer from Subis District Education Office (PPD) in Sarawak, thanked MDEC and #CJD for organising the webinars which have helped her to understand more about CT. Puan Mary welcomed more PLC sessions which would be beneficial to rural teachers such as those in the Subis area.

The #CJDs who led the sharing sessions were also highly encouraged by the response by teachers, for example, #CJD champion for 2020, Cikgu Abdul Rahman Ali Bashah from SMK Jenjarom, Selangor was delighted that his session received 2,300 views via YouTube.

In order to strengthen the learning outcome of the webinars, MDEC also organised a Computational Thinking Educator Champion (CTeC) competition which ends on Dec 5, 2021. The format of the competition requires teachers from the same zones to form a group of five members and each group has to create a daily lesson plan with an activity that supports any of the six CT concepts. The champion team will win Tello drones worth RM700 each, a trophy and certificate of participation. In the coming year, MDEC and its group of #CJDs aim to guide 6,000 teachers.

For more information about MDEC’s efforts in equipping educators with digital skills, and related resources, please refer to https://mdec.my/mydigitalmaker/cikgu-juara-digital/.

*Dr Sumitra was previously the Chief Digital Skills and Jobs Officer at MDEC and has taken the role of Head and Senior Vice President of Strategy & Policy


Guru Saling Membantu Kearah Adaptasi Digital

Landskap pekerjaan masa hadapan kini terletak sepenuhnya pada kita. Dalam norma baharu, pemikiran kritis dan kemahiran menyelesaikan masalah adalah keperluan utama untuk mana-mana kerjaya dalam era digital.

Berikutan penggunaan komputer yang meluas dalam semua bidang dan kehidupan seharian kita, konsensus global menunjukkan bahawa kemahiran penting ini harus digabungkan dengan konsep sains komputer. Gabungan kemahiran ini dikenali sebagai Computational Thinking (CT).

MDEC telah bekerjasama dengan Kementerian Pendidikan Malaysia (KPM) untuk mengintegrasikan kemahiran CT ke dalam kurikulum sekolah dan latihan perguruan sejak 2017. Dari tahun 2017 hingga 2020, seramai 88,000 guru telah dilatih dalam bidang CT melalui kerjasama antara KPM dan universiti awam terpilih di seluruh negara.

Daripada jumlah ini, MDEC telah mengenal pasti 56 guru yang mempunyai potensi dalam kemahiran CT dan digital, dan yang juga bersemangat untuk berkongsi pengetahuan mereka dengan guru-guru lain.

Guru-guru ini telah diberi gelaran “Cikgu Juara Digital”, atau #CJD, dan menjelang 2025, MDEC, bercadang untuk mengenal pasti 250 CJD, atau 2 CJD bagi setiap daerah pendidikan. #CJD akan memainkan peranan mereka sebagai sumber inspirasi dalam kemahiran CT dan digital serta membimbing guru-guru di daerah masing-masing.

#CJD juga akan terus meningkatkan kemahiran mereka melalui kursus pembangunan profesional berterusan yang disediakan oleh MDEC dan rakan kongsi industrinya. Dengan cara ini, #CJD akan memainkan peranan penting dalam perkongsian kemahiran digital kepada guru di peringkat akar umbi.

Bagi menyokong #CJD dalam perkongsian pengetahuan mereka dengan guru lain, MDEC telah membantu penubuhan Komuniti Pembelajaran Profesional (PLC) yang menjadi platform #CJD serta guru-guru lain untuk berkongsi kepakaran dan berkolaborasi dalam membimbing guru mengintegrasikan kemahiran CT dan digital ke dalam pengajaran dan pembelajaran mereka.

Menerusi PLC ini juga, MDEC dan 56 #CikguJuaraDigital (#CJD) telah mengadakan webinar yang memberi fokus kepada kemahiran CT pada Oktober 2021. Sesi interaktif ini merangkumi enam konsep CT – Abstraksi, Penguraian, Pencorakan, Algoritma, Penaakulan Logik (Logical Reasoning) dan Penilaian, dan bagaimana kemahiran CT boleh diterapkan dalam pengajaran dan pembelajaran.

Lima siri webinar telah dijalankan mengikut Kawasan – Utara, Tengah, Sabah dan Sarawak, Pantai Timur dan keseluruhan Semenanjung, di mana komuniti #CJD di setiap zon mengambil bahagian sebagai jawatankuasa penganjur dan mengetuai sesi perkongsian.

Secara keseluruhan, lima webinar ini telah disertai lebih daripada 6,000 pendidik yang terdiri daripada guru-guru sekolah kebangsaan, pensyarah Institut Pendidikan Guru Malaysia (IPGM), guru-guru pra-perkhidmatan serta guru sekolah swasta.

Guru-guru dari kawasan luar bandar juga mengalu-alukan webinar ini. Sebagai contoh, Puan Mary Ann Serdina, pegawai di Pejabat Pendidikan Daerah (PPD) Subis di Sarawak, mengucapkan terima kasih kepada MDEC dan #CJD kerana menganjurkan webinar yang telah membantunya memahami tentang kemahiran CT.

Puan Mary mengalu-alukan lebih banyak sesi PLC yang akan memberi manfaat kepada guru-guru luar bandar seperti di kawasan Subis.

#CJD yang mengetuai sesi perkongsian itu juga disambut baik oleh juara #CJD tahun 2020, Cikgu Abdul Rahman Ali Bashah dari SMK Jenjarom, Selangor. Katanya, beliau berasa gembira kerana sesinya mendapat 2,300 tontonan menerusi YouTube.

Bagi memantapkan lagi hasil pembelajaran webinar tersebut, MDEC turut menganjurkan pertandingan Computational Thinking Educator Champion (CTeC) yang berakhir pada 5 Disember 2021. Format pertandingan ini memerlukan guru dari zon yang sama membentuk kumpulan terdiri daripada lima orang ahli dan setiap kumpulan perlu membuat rancangan pengajaran harian dengan aktiviti yang menyokong mana-mana daripada enam konsep CT.

Juara kumpulan akan memenangi dron Tello bernilai RM700 setiap satu, trofi dan sijil penyertaan. Untuk tahun hadapan, MDEC dan #CJD menyasarkan untuk membimbing 6,000 guru.

Untuk maklumat lanjut tentang usaha MDEC dalam membimbing pendidik dengan kemahiran digital, sila lawat https://mdec.my/mydigitalmaker/cikgu-juara-digital/.

*Dr Sumitra merupakan bekas Ketua Pegawai Kemahiran Digital dan Kerjaya di MDEC dan kini memegang jawatan sebagai Ketua dan Naib Presiden Kanan Strategi & Dasar

Collaboration: The Key to Developing a Sustainable Digital Economy

By Shuba Karun, Head of ESG Sustainability & Social Investment, Digital Investments, Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC).

THE commitment to sustainability ranks highly on the national agenda. Given the scale of what we are striving to achieve, it’s no surprise that sustainability is increasingly the measure through which companies are being judged by society. Businesses need to play a significant role in helping Malaysia achieve carbon neutrality by 2050, and it will require the concerted efforts of all companies to move forward on

Acting responsibly is no longer a choice; it is essential. As digitalisation continues to gain momentum, businesses need to consider how they can reap the benefits of technology while promoting responsible practices. With the increased focus on sustainability, adopting Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) principles is now a business imperative, which COVID-19 has further accelerated.

The overarching priority for business leaders should be to start building the necessary expertise across their organisations now. Given MDEC’s role in leading the digital economy forward and recognising the increasing role that the industry will play in the nation’s development, we are striving for a deeply integrated future with technology.

But it is also critical that we achieve this in a way that delivers a prosperous, inclusive and sustainable Malaysia, providing equitable digital opportunities to all. MDEC’s activities align with the UN Sustainable Development Goals; however, we can and must do more. We will consider ESG principles in our decision-making process in line with the government’s recent statement.

Although a strong ESG profile is critical to maintaining a competitive edge in the digital marketplace, awareness, and appreciation of ESG issues have not yet fully translated into business practices. MDEC will become an enabler, advocating the adoption of ESG principles across Malaysia’s digital economy ecosystem and developing collaborations with key external bodies in the field.

For example, we are committed to becoming the first Malaysian agency to participate in the UN Global Compact and have recently supported SDG Ambition Month 2021, organised by its Malaysia network

Data Holds the Golden Key of the Future

By Thulasyammal Ramiah Pillai

Senior Lecturer, Taylor’s University

Products, businesses, healthcare, automobiles, education, the environment, and many more other areas exploit the data to shape their future. Data literacy is the mother of necessity in the future as the world has progressively achieved digital literacy.

Apple’s sleep tracking application of the Apple watch and the smart cars with various sensors tracking user behaviour utilising the generated data. Business analytics uses the data to make decisions for companies.

Patient care data can be utilised to offer patients with wholesome care, share information to improve patient health and assist in diagnosis.

The automobile manufacturers must have a robust supply chain of the components of the cars. Furthermore, this industry manufactures data-driven smart cars, and their predictive analysis facilitates the automotive industry to ensure better maintenance of the vehicle.

Educational data implements the educational process, producing outputs that include student progress, success, achievement, and personalised guidance.

Meanwhile, environmental data has been an important tool in combating climate change. The customer financial and preferential data enable the businesses to market their products and services to the targeted customers.

These are the factors highlighting that the world is moving fast towards a data driven world.

Facets of Data

These different sets of data had been described as big data, fast data, and actionable data.

Big data contains greater variety, volumes, velocity, intrinsic value, and veracity. Fast data promotes real-time interactions.

International Data Corporation (IDC) predicts that 30% of the global data will be real-time by 2025. Actionable data bridges the gap between big data and business value. This data can be processed and analysed to extract meaningful insights. There are various tools to process and analyse these data.

Tools and Skills

1.      Data Pre-processing Tools

Data fabric is the data integration and management solution. Its components are unified architecture, and software that allows consumers to integrate data from multiple sources which facilitates seamless access and data sharing from a distributed network.

Augmented data management utilises AI to automatically regulate metadata, data quality, database administration and data consolidation. This helps the workers to be more productive, reduce manual tasks and reduce human error in the workplace.

2.      Analytics Tools

Descriptive Analytics describes the data using numerical measures, tables and graphs using various data visualisation techniques.

Predictive analytics predicts future events using historical data, statistical and mathematical modelling, data mining methods and machine learning algorithms.

Prescriptive analytics analyses data and offers recommendations on how to optimise business practices to match the predicted outcomes.

X analytics trains and tests any type of analytics on structured and unstructured data, no matter where or in what format that data resides (Gartner).

Augmented analytics provides instant AI-powered insights by using natural language processing, and machine learning algorithms to produce data-driven solutions.

3.      Intelligence Tools

Continuous Intelligent channels real-time analytics into business operations, processing data, analysing incoming data against historical data, and offering innovative ideas instantaneously.

Business Intelligence makes data-driven decisions, using business analytics, visualisation, and infrastructure to optimize the performance of a business.

Explainable AI visualizes a model and explains the advantages, disadvantages and how it performs in a situation. Explainable AI builds the trust of the consumers.

Digitization and Digitalization

Digitization and digitalization have been accelerated by the pandemic in the data driven world.

Digitization is the process of changing analogue processes into digital form. Digitalization uses technology to innovate and reinvent the products and services.

The “Digital Transformation” uses the technology to enhance and restructure the business framework. Gartner projects that, by the end of 2024, 75% of organisations will fizzle out from pilot programs and will bring about full-fledged big data strategies.

This paradigm shift will increase the streaming data and analytics facilities at the rate of 500%.

Hence, MDEC has been assisting the companies in Malaysia with their digital transformation plans via eRezeki, Global Online Workforce, Go eCommerce and Malaysia Digital Hub.

Skills Needed

The top 3 scarcest skills needed for the “Digital Transformation” are data analytics, security, and AI. Hence, Taylors’ University has been producing graduates with these skills to support the MDEC initiatives.

Taylors’ University undergraduate and postgraduate students had designed and developed various AI products. The postgraduate students had developed predictive models to quantify the health impact of Malaysian citizen due to air pollution in collaboration with Ministry of Health Malaysia (MoH).

The undergraduate students had developed various applications for the industry via their final year project namely Facial Recognition Hotel Check in Application, Online assessment in educational System, Pocket-Money tracking Application, Teaching Statistics through Gaming and many more.

The undergraduate students also do their data science and data analytics projects in their Statistics and Data Science Principles modules.

Every organization is packed with data that should be exploited intelligently to stay competitive in the market. Data holds the golden key of the future for the sustainable development of any organisation.

Author’s Profile

A 27-year experienced lecturer, fully committed as an academic professional who has deeply moved oneself in lecturing and tutoring students from various social and cultural backgrounds at higher institutions.

She is specialised in Applied Statistics. She has acquired a deep understanding in Data Analytics and Machine Learning.

Currently she is experimenting the application of gamification in the teaching and learning of Mathematics and Statistics.

She is involved in a multi-disciplinary research group in the field of Data Analytics, Big Data, IoT, AI, Health, Environment, Transportation, Travel Behaviour, Smart Sustainable Cities and Business.

Video Games Market in Germany

After China, US, Japan and South Korea, Germany is the world’s fifth largest gaming market. The country’s gaming industry was reported to generate roughly USD 6 billion in revenue for year 2020, with 34 million players daily. In Germany, there are 651 gaming studios and publishers, as well as 128 colleges with game-related courses.
Observation/Opportunity

The annual Gamescom in Cologne is the world’s largest video gaming expo in terms of attendance. Computer and video games are played by more than half of Germans. Between the ages of 6 and 69, 58% of the population uses a console, PC, or smartphone to immerse themselves in the digital world. Additionally, 5% more people in Germany began playing computer and video games in 2020.

COVID-19 had led to people staying at home and playing video games instead of going out. In 2020, the value of video games was reported to increase by 21%. The number of Virtual Reality (VR) headsets available continues to grow, with higher price points and better-quality entry-level devices. With a 13% value share in 2020, Nintendo of Europe GmbH continues in the lead. In 2024, the market for video games is predicted to grow to EUR4.7 billion.

In Germany, video games were expected to expand by double digit in value in 2021, mainly due to growth in console games (digital), mobile games and internet games, as well as AR/VR headsets. While the increased demand for online and mobile games can be attributed to the extra time spent at home as a result of the epidemic, it is also
attributed to the growing trend of consumers willing to spend on games.

The Way Forward

The German games industry is mainly concentrated in the country’s major cities, with Hamburg and Berlin emerging as hotspots in recent years. Munich, Frankfurt, Cologne and Düsseldorf where most game creators and publishers are headquartered, are other economic centres for the games industry.

Sales of static consoles recorded an upward trend towards the end of 2020, contributed by new console releases from Sony and Microsoft, as well as increasing consumer demand over the holiday season. However, value sales were down due to temporary supply problems, but are expected to catch up in 2021.

When it comes to video game software, there is a trend in Germany to buy digital games. Video game software (physical) retained a considerable portion of the industry in 2020, but sales were significantly impacted by the pandemic because of store closures and consumers opting for digital forms.

For further information and enquiries, please contact MATRADE Frankfurt at [email protected]

Note 1:
This article is based on Market Alert (MA) prepared by MATRADE Frankfurt and the information is
correct at the time of the writing (25 November 2021).

Note 2:
The MA is available in MyExport which can be accessed at www.matrade.gov.my

Disclaimer
While every effort has been taken to ensure that the contents of the article (MATRADE’s Insight) are accurate and current, MATRADE cannot be held responsible for any inclusion, omission or error and is not liable for any loss or dispute arising from the use of the information provided.

The Adoption of FinTech during COVID-19 Pandemic in Malaysia

By Associate Professor Dr. Melissa Teoh Teng Tenk & Associate Professor Dr. Angeline Yap Kiew Heong

HELP University

FinTech is derived from the words “Finance” and “Technology”. With innovation and advancement in technology, the incorporation of technology in financial products and services help to improve efficiency and productivity when servicing the clients.

FinTech is also inclusive of mobile payment apps, online banking services and cryptocurrency backed by the Blockchain technology among others.

Digital payment and financial services have recently become increasingly popular during the current COVID-19 pandemic as cashless sales and purchases are promoted to cut down the risk of virus infection.

Presently, the most used cashless payment methods are credit/debit cards, internet banking, while eWallet emerges to become a new trend of mobile payment resulting from the pandemic.

Compared to traditional payment methods, the contactless nature of electronic payment methods enables customers to maintain social distancing and prevent both direct and indirect contacts from the cash transaction process.

This aspect enables customers to formulate their opinions based on the perceived physical and mental advantages of personal security and offers practicality and convenience when employing electronic payment technology as an alternative approach for financial transactions during the pandemic.

Consequently, online purchase of perishable and non-perishable goods, online food ordering, banking transactions become a norm among consumers.

This change has impacted our present daily lives, therefore FinTech is a highly needed and effective approach during this physically isolating period, and given that, its demand is escalating in Malaysia.

In view of this growing trend, the authors and students at HELP University conducted a survey in June 2021 to examine the factors that influence the adoption behaviours of FinTech services among the Malaysian households.

The survey looks at the influence of perceived ease of use, perceived usefulness, social influence, perceived enjoyment, security concern, and personal innovativeness on the intention to adopt FinTech

Intention to adopt is defined as the inclination to engage with an object based on an individual’s acceptance and understanding of the new­ object. The intention to adopt technologies is influenced by numerous factors.

Data showed that as high as 90.9 percent of the survey respondents strongly agreed or agreed to continue using the FinTech services.

Perceived ease of use is identified as how trouble-free and easy a new technology would be to acquire and operate for a new user.

More than 50 percent of the respondents agreed that the FinTech services are straight forward, clear, and understandable.

Perceived usefulness is the belief towards the advancement of their job using technology. The results showed that more than 50 percent of the respondents found FinTech useful and allowed them to accomplish their financial tasks quicker.

Social influence describes the degree of individuals’ FinTech behavioural intention is influenced by social groups, their peers and group’s culture. This experience is especially significant when they face unfamiliar technology.

Results showed that more than 50 percent of the respondents found that their adoption of FinTech is influenced by peers and family around them, while 25.2 percent to 35.8 percent of the respondents were neutral to the social influences.

Perceived enjoyment is a subjective psychological pleasure stemming from the use of new technology. Perceived enjoyment knowingly affects user satisfaction and acts as a motivator which influences an individual’s acceptance of information technology that notably drives user satisfaction.

More than 50 percent of the respondents agreed that their experience of FinTech adoption is pleasant. Between 22.7 percent to 28.8 percent of the respondents were neutral about the enjoyment of using FinTech.

Security concerns are about the concern of privacy and security issues when using electronic services, which translate as how safe is the individuals’ private information being exposed to unfriendly parties when using the FinTech services.

Results showed that between 38.5 percent to 59.4 percent of the respondents were alarmed that security issues affect their FinTech adoption, while 37 percent to 42.1 percent of the respondents were neutral about the security safety of using the FinTech services.

Perhaps, the service providers can address this serious concern effectively to protect sensitive information from hackers and to gain confidence from the FinTech users.

In contrast, personal innovativeness has a negligible impact on the technology adoption behaviour.

Personal innovation variable is described as the individual’s willingness to adopt new products taking the uncertainty of the product into account.

It shows that 27 percent of the respondents disagreed that they will be the first to try out FinTech services, and 34.8 percent of the respondents disagreed that they are hesitant to try out new FinTech services.

As a conclusion, Malaysians are open to exploring FinTech, but they may not want to be the first to try it.

It is important for Malaysian financial service providers and financial institutions to continue improving their FinTech related services to meet customer expectations in light of the factors examined.

FinTech plays a vital role in the current global economic growth. The pandemic has changed society and various human practices around the world. Social distancing and containment measures increase the consumers dependency on digital financial service – FinTech.

Cashless transactions are highly favoured during the pandemic especially with restrictions ­set in place to decrease the risks of infection.

Once the habits of dependency on digital services are established, it will be a norm for the adoption of FinTech services and FinTech will continue to remain highly relevant post-pandemic.

Authors’ Profile

  • Dr. Teoh Teng Tenk, Melissa is currently attached to the Faculty of Business, Economics and Accounting in HELP University. 
  • Her experiences include 20 years of teaching in finance and accounting in a few prominent higher education institutions. 
  • She has completed the Chartered Institute of Management Accountant and is a Certified Accountant of MIA. 
  • She received her PhD in Finance from the University of Malaya and was awarded the University of Malaya Fellowship. 
  • Dr. Yap Kiew Heong is currently attached to the Faculty of Business, Economics and Accounting in HELP University. 
  • She has previously associated with TAR UC and UTAR since 1997. Dr Angeline Yap obtained her PhD in Accounting and MBA (Accountancy) from the University of Malaya. 
  • She also received research grants from the University of Malaya, and Fundamental Research Grant Scheme from the Malaysian Government. She has completed the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants and is a Certified Accountant of MIA.
  • She has presented some research papers at national and international conferences, and published research papers in the areas of cryptocurrency, corporate governance, and accounting with peer-reviewed journals.

FinTech and the Future of Finance- Rise of NFTs and BNPL

Prof Dr Nafis Alam, PGCHE, SFHEA

Head, School of Accounting and Finance

Asia Pacific University of Technology and Innovation (APU)

[email protected]

Financial Technology (FinTech) is changing the way people carry out their day-to-day financial services mainly through the use of apps or digital channels designed for their convenience and cost-effectiveness. Such financial apps are often based on mobile phones in the form of “digital wallets” that store credit cards, debit cards, and sometimes account information, thus eliminates the need for cash or checks.  While using the Artificial Intelligence (AI)-powered investment apps, investors have the flexibility to invest anywhere and everywhere. With the emergence of the unheard financial products and services like Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs), Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs), Embedded Finance, Defi and more recently Buy Now Pay Later (BNPL), FinTech is revolutionising the way we engage with financial services.

Even though FinTech has wide-ranging applications and there is plenty of reading on how FinTech is shaping the financial world, this piece will be more focused on the two hot FinTech products, NFTs and BNPL, which are attracting wide-ranging discourse on their suitability as a financial product and challenges they bring along. I will also share my perspective on why FinTech knowledge and awareness is key for its sustained growth.

A couple of weeks ago, a digital billboard right in front of Lot 10, Kuala Lumpur, showed the image of a pudgy penguin, nothing unique, right? But it was part of the intriguing project which is taking the NFT world by storm. Pudgy Penguins, a collection of 8,888 randomly generated avatar NFTs that sold out in just 19 minutes and generated over 30,753 Ethereum or US$97.6 million (RM403 million) in total sales volume with rarer pieces being sold at 150 Ether (ETH), the cryptocurrency of the Ethereum network. Closer to home, Malaysia’s local graffiti artist and illustrator, Katun managed to gain a total sale of 127.60 ETH for his NFT art collection, equivalent to around RM1.63 million on the day of their release. So what is so cool about NFT and why are there so much hype in the FinTech world? An NFT is a digital asset that represents real-world objects like digital art, drawings, music, in-game items, videos and even a tweet that are bought and sold online, usually with cryptocurrency, and is generally encoded with the same underlying software as many cryptos. For instance, Jack Dorsey, Twitter’s founder and CEO, auctioned his first-ever tweet originally uploaded on 21 March 2006 that read “just setting up my twttr” as an NFT. The tweet was bought using ETH and had a final bid of US$2.9 million (RM11.97 million). Having a digital record, most NFTs are part of the Ethereum blockchain.

As the name suggests, NFTs are non-fungible, meaning they can’t be swapped for something of completely equal value. The value of the NFT lies in its uniqueness and it represents exclusive ownership of a particular digital asset. In a simple term, since NFTs are unique, they have no equivalent value other than what the market is willing to pay for them. NFT can only have one owner and by buying an NFT, the owner purchases the exclusive ownership of a particular digital asset.

The next key questions are, is it worth investing so much money in NFTs? Are they valuable? What will be the future value of those investments? Any crypto investment comes with its challenges and since NFTs are traded in crypto, it follows the same volatile and unpredictable nature of the crypto market. Going with the current hype in cryptocurrencies, NFTs are bound to follow the same interest, but it is difficult to predict the future value of NFTs. Since NFTs will be tagged to the value of ETH or related cryptocurrencies, their value will be attached to the highs and lows of the crypto and the future popularity of the digital assets. Another challenge in buying an NFT is confirming the authenticity of the underlying token itself. As NFTs are completely being sold online, it might be the case where counterfeit digital art can be sold for the price of the original item. Tax authorities are also yet to allocate preferential tax treatment to NFTs as same as some preferred stocks. The overall gains from trading in NFTs might not be that advantageous unless anyone has plenty of funds to spend on acquiring collectibles.

Overall, investing in NFTs is a fad among crypto enthusiasts and a race to hoard some priceless digital tokens but it is too early to prove if NFTs can be considered a valuable investment and we need some time to prove their worth.

Another popular FinTech segment that is becoming a big hit among millennials is the Buy Now Pay Later (BNPL), which is a short-term financing option that allows customers to make purchases without having to pay the full amount upfront. Customers might pay a small fraction of the total cost upfront (ranging between 10% and 25%) while the balance must be paid weekly, bi-weekly, monthly or any other predetermined payment schedule. BNPL has its own fan base with both millennials and Gen Z consumers are attracted to its no-frill and instalment-based payment system. With limited or poor credit history, BNPL has emerged as one of the popular financing options available especially during the COVID-19-induced eCommerce boom. With the euphoria for BNPL, the global BNPL market which was only US$4.07 billion in 2020, is expected to reach US$20.40 billion by 2028, registering a CAGR of 22.4% from 2021 to 2028.

Initially pressed as a solution to increase the financial inclusion for credit card deprived consumers, BNPL is starting to emerge as a new debt trap for young professionals who do not have or don’t want to have a traditional credit card with high-interest rates. Trendy lifestyle, social media influence, easy availability of credit and no interest rate charged by BNPL providers are fuelling the rise of its popularity among young consumers. Due to less stringent credit checks and onboarding requirements by platforms, it is easier for customers to rack up debt by spending the money which they don’t have and often leading to overspending. Not only is BNPL adding debt pressure, but the non-payment of pre-determined instalment plans is also eating up the potential credit score.

Even though in Malaysia, BNPL usage is way behind countries such as in the US, China, Australia, its attractiveness is soon going to catch up, making it a popular FinTech segment in the country. Pine Lab, one of the leading BNPL platforms, has already onboarded leading merchants as well as banks like CIMB Bank, AmBank and RHB Bank on its platform. An interesting feature of BNPL is that it is largely an unregulated business for anyone and everyone to join, both from the provider and users perspective. Regulating BNPL platforms is crucial for both business continuity and consumer protection in addition to not creating an ecosystem of easy personal financing which could lead to defaults and financial uncertainties. From a FinTech viewpoint, huge defaults from BNPL users can also adversely impact platform survival in the long run.

It is clear that while FinTech does provide new and innovative ways of investment (NFT) and financing (BNPL), the education and awareness of FinTech concepts is key for the booming financial services industry. Educating young Malaysians about FinTech should be the utmost priority of the higher education sector which should include courses on data-driven financial analysis, application of Machine Learning and AI in financial decision making, application of blockchain in financial services, usage of digital assets and alternative finance. At the same time, a fast-growing FinTech industry requires talents that are equipped with financial skills, digital skills, and data analytics skills for them to stay through new roles such as FinTech specialists and business data analysts within the industry. The Private Higher Education Institution (IPTS) has been slow to offer FinTech programmes with only a few universities offering such courses. Asia Pacific University of Technology and Innovation (APU) understood the importance of FinTech knowledge for Finance graduates and was the first university in the country to offer both undergraduate and postgraduate FinTech programmes. More recently with the likes of Taylors have also ventured into offering FinTech related programmes. Some universities both public and private are incorporating the FinTech module in their Finance programmes.

APU also became the first and only university to sign a pact with the FinTech Association of Malaysia (FAOM) in March 2020. This new partnership opened a whole window of opportunities as APU’s FinTech students are exposed to career and internship opportunities with FAOM members, which include leading banks, financial institutions and FinTech platforms. Industry experts from FAOM are also providing inputs in enhancing the programme comprising key areas of FinTech, namely digital currencies, blockchain technologies, crowdfunding, Robo-advisory and entrepreneurial finance. For a vibrant FinTech ecosystem, IPTS must work closely with the FinTech industry players and development agencies like Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC) to create awareness and knowledge transfer among Malaysians as well as to produce the next generation of FinTech experts and founders. FinTech knowledge is becoming an important aspect of education for the digital age as the increased sophistication of FinTech products and services (like NFTs and BNPL) need more awareness among the customers. In addition to being aware of these innovative financial products, users should also be able to compare the pros and cons of each available product.

In conclusion, FinTech is not only the future of finance, it’s already here and it will transform the way we transact and interact with the financial world. Education and awareness is the key for sustained growth of the FinTech ecosystem.

Author Profile

Dr Nafis is currently working as a Professor of Finance and Head of School of Accounting and Finance at Asia Pacific University of Technology and Innovation (APU). He previously served as an Associate Professor of Finance at Henley Business School Malaysia, University of Reading Malaysia and at Nottingham University Business School (NUBS) in the University of Nottingham Malaysia Campus (UNMC). He is also a research affiliate of Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance (CCAF) at Judge Business School, University of Cambridge and contributes to global reports on Fintech, Alternative Finance and Fintech Regulation.

He has published over 40 peer-reviewed in leading journals including The World Economy, Emerging Markets Review, Pacific-Basin Finance Journal, Journal of Asset Management, Journal of Banking Regulation, Review of Islamic Economics and Journal of Financial Services Marketing among others. He has also co-authored nine books and numerous book chapters on Fintech and Islamic Finance. As a frequent traveller, he has given lectures on finance and Islamic finance across the world, including Harvard Islamic Finance Forum at Harvard Law School; a Gulf Research Meeting at Cambridge University, UK; Durham University Summer School; Seoul International Finance Conference (SIFIC); World Islamic Economic Forum (WIEF); OIC Asia Trade and Economic Forum, Central bank of Turkey among others.

Dr Nafis has served as a visiting Professor/Associate Professor at various universities in the UK and Indonesia. He was featured as a Professor of the Month by Financial Times (FT) in 2014 and received an award for Upcoming Personality in Islamic Finance in 2016 presented by Global Islamic Finance Awards (GIFA) and hosted by the Indonesian government. He is an avid writer and contributes regularly to mainstream newspapers, economic forums and professional outlets like WEF, Huffington Post, The Edge, The Conversation among others.  He is among the world top 100 influencers in Fintech and top 5 amongst Regtech influencers. He can be followed at https://twitter.com/nafisalam 

Deq on Deck: United For Digital Sovereignty

Assalamualaikum Warahmatullahi Ta’ala Wabarakatuh and Salam Sejahtera,

Greetings,

You may have heard of the term ‘Digital Sovereignty’. It is the idea of having control over our own digital destiny through the data, hardware, and software that we create, share and rely on.

On a policy-making level, digital sovereignty is an important aspect to consider, as there is a growing concern that too much digital control is ceded to too few places, in a tech market that has too little choices.

By upholding digital sovereignty and integrating technology with society, we can chart our digital course on our own terms. More importantly, we can frame policies on digital use, consumption and investment that will drive inclusivity, sustainability, and shared prosperity.

We can better our nation, lower the income gap, democratise digital access and opportunities for all Malaysians.

It is easy to be driving progress for progress’s sake, forgetting that progress should ultimately benefit the people. Serving the Rakyat is our primary mandate – an aspect that I am sure we always keep in mind.  

On 6 September, MDEC was graced with an official working visit by Communications and Multimedia Minister YB Tan Sri Datuk Seri Panglima TPr Annuar Haji Musa. Our discussions with him and the Ministry not only gave us the opportunity to align our vision and mission with the government and policymakers, but also to reiterate our focus–that we, as a whole, serve the interests of the Rakyat.

It begins with our own self-improvement. YBM reiterated for MDEC to be positioned as the leading agency for Malaysia and ASEAN’s digital economy and aspires for us to improve our internal processes to emerge as a high-performance agency.

There is no doubt that this is what we will be striving for moving forward, as we re-emphasise our focus towards driving positive impact to the people.

Throughout the week, I have been able to connect and continue to seek deeper collaboration with digital economy stakeholders.

I also had the opportunity to meet with Dato’ Azmar Talib, CEO of Tun Razak Exchange (TRX). We had a great discussion on MDEC’s investment promotion activities to support TRX and Bandar Malaysia.

Our recently announced DIF5 strategy allows us to focus on bringing digital investments and sustainable ecosystem development programmes in both Islamic Digital Economy and FinTech–two segments crucial to the development of the economy and the expansion of financial access across the country.

Last week also ended on a good note. By the good graces of the Prime Minister and the Malaysian government, the creative industry is allowed to resume operations from 9 September.

This is a tremendous step towards national recovery, and a relief to more than 19,000 companies in the industry. MDEC has been doing our best to bolster this important segment throughout the pandemic, with initiatives that include the Digital Content Creators Challenge and the Digital Content Grant.

Now it is time for us to redouble our support and help them overcome the rocky terrain as they reopen during an ongoing pandemic.

Digital Sovereignty is something Malaysia must build and uphold for ourselves. To do so, we need to empower the people to take that step with us through the right tools, access, and support.

We need to stand #DigitalUnited.

Yours, Mahadhir @ maDEQ

DEQ on DECK

Assalamualaikum Warahmatullahi Ta’ala Wabarakatuh and Salam Sejahtera,

Greetings,

This has been my first (short) week at MDEC, and it has been an eventful one at that. My week was filled with several important visits to the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Communications and Multimedia.

My courtesy visit to YBhg. Dato’ Sri Mohammad Mentek, KSU of KKMM & Board Member of MDEC, on my 1st day on the job was filled with amanat and a list of priorities to be addressed.

I also paid a courtesy visit to YBhg. Dato’ Asri Hamidon, Secretary General of Treasury and the Director of Agensi Pelaksanaan Ekonomi Dan Koordinasi Strategik Nasional (LAKSANA) of MoF, YBhg. Dato Shahrul Nazri Abdul Rahim at the Ministry of Finance.

I was invited to the inaugural meeting of the Consultative Council on Foreign Policy chaired by YB Dato’ Saifuddin Abdullah, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, and I am certainly looking forward to the role MDEC will playing in contributing to the Council’s output.

In the weeks to come, I will continue to engage with more industry stakeholders and Government officials to listen and discuss how we can achieve the objectives in MyDIGITAL together.

I plan to strengthen collaborations with other digital ecosystem drivers, including the Malaysian Investment Development Authority (MIDA) through the Digital Investment Office (DIO) to continue supporting investments in our digital economy.

It is equally important that I say how privileged I am to be given the opportunity to work alongside the experienced and passionate MDEC team, made even more meaningful as MDEC marks its 25th anniversary Silver Jubilee year.

For 25 years, MDEC has indisputably affected change in the ICT and digital ecosystem of Malaysia. For me, MDEC has always represented the way forward, not just for the digital economy and tech industry, but also for the nation.

While the pandemic has certainly posed a challenge, I have witnessed the resilience and determination that my new colleagues have exhibited to ensure progress is achieved. The digital movement is sweeping swiftly across the country, and I believe that our experience, innovation, and ability to execute will enable us to be at the forefront of this movement.

Change can be unsettling, but in change, lies opportunities. We must be clear on delivering the best possible experience for our industry, investors and our people, by keeping it simple and customer-focused.

I commit to always communicate openly and transparently and I’d like to encourage everyone to do the same. I want to hear your thoughts and ideas. I want to hear what you think, what we could do differently and better.

This has not been an easy time for our families and businesses. The landscape is changing faster than ever. There are key issues around health, income, and mental wellbeing. We can address this with a digital approach, and with urgency.

MDEC is driven by great people with proven expertise. I am confident that together, with all our stakeholders and partners, we will succeed in establishing Malaysia as the Heart of Digital ASEAN. In closing, I also want to pay tribute to all my predecessors over the past 25 years who have contributed towards the success of MDEC. A united team can most definitely turn any dream into a reality. 

I look forward to connecting with all of you in due time, perhaps over food or sports – my passions!

Till then, stay safe and let’s all do our part to build a better Malaysia together. 

Yours,

Mahadhir @ maDEQ

Profile Cloning: Mitigations to Stay Simultaneously Safe and Popular

All of us love to exhibit our hobbies, achievements, and abilities. Browsing through social media sites like Facebook and Instagram — you will find loads of public profiles or semi-public profiles (private profiles with public pictures) at risk of being cloned. Profile cloning is the topic of this article that may save your lives from digital character impersonation and even character assassination.

Those Who Have No Choice but to be Vulnerable  

Certain people (read: public figures) have no choice but to remain vulnerable — since it may be impossible for them to have private or minimized social media profiles due to their nature of work e.g., celebrities, marketing agents, insurance agents, country/political leaders, and whatnots. And actually, in certain context, some public figures’ professions are a lot safer from profile cloning consequences, because of their “unreachable and exclusive” image. 

Let’s say you receive a message on Facebook or Instagram that impersonates Britney Spears, it is very likely you will not fall it. If you are an ordinary person like me (non-celebrity), your immediate thought would probably be “No this can’t be Britney Spears, I have no affair with her, it’s definitely a scammer.” Therefore, you could have another wonderful scam-free day.

The same ‘presumption of innocence’ privilege cannot be earned by ordinary people since most ordinary people have no “exclusive” image about them. Therefore, impersonating them would be more likely to generate response. However, the probability of success is subject to the type of relationship between the cloned profile and the target victim, it could be family tie (the likeliest to get response), friendship (very likely to get response although with considerable alertness from the target), business/work relation (very likely to get response, especially if received from a superior), or stranger trying to establish relation like the one commonly exists in social media and online dating applications. A good tips for a safe online dating practice is to suspect profiles with ridiculously smooth magazine-quality photos.  

The Consequences

We’ve all heard about these two worldwide famous scams: online money scam and online love scam. They are extremely common, which quite makes the sense since humans are thriving for money and love. Many people would pay for love or the other way around — love for money. The next question is: “How did people fall for such scams?”. Firstly, it takes convincing the victim for such crime to proceed to the next stage, which is delivery of a favour, and then voila! A crime is successfully committed and very hard to trace, especially if it involves international money transfer. Lately, Malaysian media have been reporting cases related to ‘love scam’ which led victims losing up to millions of ringgit via online money transfer. See this article as an example.

Possible Profile Cloning Scenarios

Let’s take a look briefly at below figure that depicts few scenarios of profile cloning.

Figure 1. Profile Cloning Scenarios

In Figure 1 above, the first segment at the top represents an unethical activity that digs your Facebook and Instagram profiles looking for biographical data and/or public photos. Subsequently, an imposter creates a fake social media profile to trick your friends or even strangers into thinking that it is you (a decent person who just uses social media for maintaining or expanding current social connection).

The second segment in Figure 1 represents the similar activity, but instead of cloning your profile on Facebook, it is done on Instagram (be careful of who you follow!). While the third segment is the most villainous of all: cloning your profile on multiple social media i.e., Facebook, Instagram, Tinder, and God knows what-else. Afterwards, the online money scam and love scam mentioned in the previous section may be made possible to initiate. 

Are you afraid now? You should be! But there is good news! We can keep you popular and safe at the same time. Let me explain in the next section.

Mitigations of Profile Cloning

Prevention is the best way to mitigate profile cloning and it is part of three-pronged cybersecurity strategy developed by Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC). HELP University as a Premier Digital Tech Institution (PDTI) member has adopted the recommended mitigations in this article.

Depending on how safe and popular you want to be, there are preventive mitigations that may suit your needs as follows:

  1. Super-safe and super-private profile: Set your profile private and don’t put any profile picture. With this highly discrete social media profile, the only thing an outsider may know is your name (if you indeed use your real name on your profile). This setting would still allow you to interact with your inner social circle that you have already added to your friends list. Furthermore, you may also exclude profile picture from your other communication media e.g., email account, LinkedIn account (I saw companies’ C-level staff exclude profile picture from their LinkedIn profiles — smart move!), WhatsApp account, and whatever chatting apps you are on. Moreover, you may restrict your profile name too to only display first name or first name plus the first letter of your last name.
  2. Very-safe and slightly well-known profile: Set your profile private and put a profile picture, but set it with “friends-only” privilege, so only your friends could view your profile picture in full size. Additionally, I suggest to avoid putting your face-only or close-up photo as your profile picture as this would still generate clear face visualization if it gets screenshot. Some examples of safe profile picture where your face looks tiny and a bit unclear are those activity-based pictures e.g., riding bicycle, sea surfing, stakeboarding, rollerblading, etc. See! You could still look fabulously cool and popular while remaining safe.
  3. Safe and well-known profile: In case you use your social media for self-promotion or publication, then you would probably put your clear facial picture, real full name, and publicize certain data such as workplace, current location, and even mobile number. BUT, keep these data secret: date of birth and family members/relationships — This will shield your loved ones from being targeted. Also, try not to put a group picture unless it is really necessary; there could be someone in the group picture that could be targeted. I have seen a common smart strategy where the other people’s faces are blurred or covered to protect their privacy. This is a decent and respectable thing to do.

For the third mitigation above, the ‘safe’ word is an overstatement, because when you put your photos and data for public, then you must be mentally and legally ready to face the consequences of profile cloning . I have seen profile cloning happen to my own circle of friends; both on Facebook and Instagram. The quickest mitigation after such crime is detected is to report it to the social media customer service and notify your inner circle (friends, family, colleagues, etc) that somebody has impersonated your profile, hence they can be vigilant of upcoming scam attempt. If serious enough, consider making police report; there is cyber crime unit in the police department that may assist your case.

What to Do If You Suspect Scam Attempt

In case you suspect a scam is being attempted towards to you, for example: you receive an email claiming to be from your direct superior asking to borrow money, then verify it by a phone call to him/her. Or if your online-dating match asks you for a financial favor, then brace your heart and switch on your logic and realize the anomaly. Excitement from knowing new people is normal, but keep your senses alert!.

Conclusion

Profile cloning is very common and people with public or semi-public social media profiles are the most vulnerable to it. The risk can be minimized by reducing the exposure of our social media profiles. Total protection does not exist since we more or less share our data with public. Scrutinize any digital communication and respond considerably. 

References

About the writer:
Okta Nurika, BSc. Hons (BIS) (University of East London), MSc in IT (Universiti Teknologi PETRONAS), PhD in IT (Universiti Teknologi PETRONAS).

Okta Nurika has worked in the tech industry as a network engineer, software test analyst, and software project lead. He has accomplished major telecommunication and software projects in Indonesia, Malaysia, Sri Lanka, Australia, and South Africa. He also has served as an Internet of Things (IoT) assessment consultant in collaboration with TM Forum, a global association of organizations driving digital transformation in telecommunication industry. His published journals and conference papers are related to computer networks, simulation models, and machine learning – mainly optimizations with genetic algorithms. He has experiences in teaching cybersecurity, programming, project management and database management subjects.

Dr Okta Nurika currently works as a Senior Lecturer at HELP University.

References:

https://www.nst.com.my/news/crime-courts/2021/04/682894/woman-loses-rm27-million-love-scam-american-pilot
https://mdec.my/digital-economy-initiatives/for-the-industry/for-small-medium-enterprise-sme/matrix/

Designing the IHL Cybersecurity Talent Pipeline for the National Workforce

Producing industry ready graduates is seen as being the biggest challenge for cybersecurity talent development. To the industry there is always this notion of a shortfall of skill sets and this is more evident for cyber security which is ever evolving. Taking a cue from Asia Pacific University of Technology & Innovation (APU) who have been grooming and churning out distinct Cyber Security graduates for over a decade now into the job market of which this group sits in a ratio of 1:3 on the jobs opportunity playing field. The challenges faced at APU and how they were overcome are quite amazing;

  1. Many jobs in the cybersecurity segment ask for 2-3yrs experience so how do fresh graduates penetrate the market. At APU students are given experiential leaning combined with exposure to real-world experiences that elevates their cybersecurity skills beyond theoretical knowledge and hones problem-solving skills. It also provides opportunities to practice blending technical and other skills such as communication, leadership, and teamwork within a security context.
  2. Reaching out to beyond cyber security programme. Cyber security electives are offered to all the 6000+ tech students whether it’s in fields such as Computer Science, Information Technology or Software Engineering.
  3. Depth & Breadth of curriculum content. With tech ever evolving and cyber security having the dark & white side of trades so enabling the white side professionals has been strengthened by industry skill based content as advised by our partners namely Cyber Test Systems, Cyber Intelligence, TecForte and Silensec.
  4. Infrastructure & Ambience of Cybersecurity Professionals. This is done via courses offered where students take them seated in the facilities at APU such as our Cyber Range in which 3 courses are taught and also the Security Operations Centre (SOC) where another 2 courses are taught. The SOC is then also a mandatory manning fulfilment of 50hrs prior to graduation. The students monitor APU network traffic and do Tier 1 trouble shooting by themselves and escalate to the SOC manager for Tier 2.

There needs to be a continuous interest in Cyber Security programmes. This can only be ensured by universities having implementation strategies in place. As a benchmark below here are the FIVE prong pro-active measures and actions taken at APU focused on industry relevance & marketable graduates into the workforce;

  1. Engaging with the industry experts. The design of APU cyber security programmes are achieved with the industry through the participation of the Industry Advisory Panel (IAP) who have cyber security expertise. The experts are integral in verifying content, direction on software/tools applications, guidance on ideas for final year projects, serve in opportunities for industrial trainings and also support via guest lectures year in year out.
  2. Promotion of our infrastructure on all marketing mediums. In 2018 APU invested in the set up the Cybersecurity Talent Zone (CTZ) with a vision of producing nice graduates in the discipline. With the collaborative arrangements with industry partners, APU has been able to set up international standard facilities in the CTZ for teaching, learning and research. Good examples of this is the Cyber Range which is of Military Defense grade and one of 2 in Malaysia and the most equipped version in the SEA region along with the Security Operations Centre (SOC) which is one of 3 mainstream versions in IHLs within Malaysia. Both were designed, setup and commissioned with partners from the industry bridged by MDEC. A follow through on this is the professional level trainings which our students also benefit from.Malaysia OpenGov Leadership Forum APU won the prestigious Recognition of Excellence Award for its Cyber Security Talent Zone development.
  3. Engaging with local & national agencies. APU’s Corporate Training unit furnishes industry based certification training and APU talents can professionally certify themselves while undergoing their studies and our offerings are in partnership with the likes of CSM, CompTIA, Rocheston, ISACA, EC Council. 
  4. Showcasing our talents. Competitions, research outcomes at conferences & exhibitions as an average churn out 85 publications per year in cybersecurity & forensic. APU has been annual winners at industry level competitions hosted by F-Secure, KPMG, and Australian Information Security Association (AISA). This allows for other potential students to see that the exposure is at large and you are on an industrial footing while being in university.
  5. Showcasing the expertise. Sharing of experts’ in training or being a go to place for cybersecurity upskilling, i.e the MIA CSuite Awareness Programme. APU is also recognized as the Best Cybersecurity Education Provider in Asia – Cyber Security Excellence Awards in 2019 & 2020 and received the Award for best Cyber Security Education Provider in Asia Pacific by CompTIA in 2018.

As part of Digital Malaysia developments, encouragement to IR4.0 has to start from school levels. The awareness has to be made clear on this career pathway as a standalone profession. APU has conducted school programmes in the cybersecurity area quite successfully. APU hosted the Cyber Security Immersion (CSI) for Youth programme in collaboration with MoHE and MDEC. It was a 3 Days 2 Nights programme at APU. Throughout the programme, students underwent seminars, brainstorming sessions and presentations. The contents were delivered by the academic team which covered essential technical knowledge and know-how of phishing, hacking, types of cyber-attacks and countermeasures. APU has also done Cyber Security awareness programmes at SMKs from 2018-2019 where a total of 16 schools were covered.

The future in cybersecurity education is allowing the qualification as a standalone qualification as the market is so wide and jobs at a 1:3 ratio which means it’s a monstrous programme by itself. As for programme standards it should be standalone and not be parked under the cluster of Computer Science to address the depth and breadth of the content requirements mapped to workforce needs. There is a paradigm shift needed by the Malaysian Qualifying Agency (MQA) on this matter for the benefit of future graduates.

Prof Ir Ts Dr Vinesh Thiruchelvam
Deputy Vice Chancellor &
Chief Innovation Officer
Asia Pacific University of
Technology & Innovation

Prof Ir Ts Dr Vinesh Thiruchelvam is currently the Deputy Vice Chancellor for Asia Pacific University of Technology & Innovation (APU) and the Chief Innovation Officer for the APIIT Education Group. He is also an academic advisor and external examiner to four Malaysian Public Universities. He is Professional Engineering with the Board of Engineers Malaysia (BEM) and a Chartered Engineer (CEng) with Engineering Council, UK and a Fellow of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE-UK). 

Prof Vinesh has been the Chairman of the Engineering Education Technical Division (E2TD) at the Institute of Engineers Malaysia, advisory member of the Ministry of Education’s ‘STEM Task Force’ directly involved with the development of the MoE’s Education Blueprint in 2014-2015, member of the Ministry of Human Resources’ BPIC on quality of graduates in 2014-2017, member of Malaysian National Task Force for Big Data Movements with Malaysian Digital Economy Corporation (MDeC) in 2015-2018  and is currently contributing to the Malaysian National Framework for Artificial Intelligence as a scientific expert appointed in 2019.

Prof Vinesh is also appointed on to Digital Expert Panel for Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC) covering Cybersecurity, Data Science, Software & System Integrator, Animation, Games and Internet of Things for 2020-2024. He is also the Technical Chair and Lead worldwide for ISO under the working group TC307/WG 1 – BlockChain Fundamentals Standards Development.

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