By Seleviawati Tarmizi

In a move towards precision governance, Malaysia unveils its Pangkalan Data Utama (PADU), a comprehensive database housing profiles of citizens and permanent residents.

This initiative is designed to assist the government in improving the accuracy and efficiency of policy execution, though its effectiveness will depend on careful management and continuous oversight.

The core objective of PADU is to enhance policy planning and resource allocation, particularly in directing subsidies and governmental aids to those in genuine need.

Associate Professor Dr Johari Abdullah

Developed collaboratively by the Ministry of Economy, the Department of Statistics Malaysia, and the Unit for Administration Modernization and Management Planning, PADU emerges as the central reference hub for data-informed decision-making within the government.

Despite its ambitious goals, concerns have emerged. Associate Professor Dr Johari Abdullah, Leader of Cybersecurity Research at UNIMAS, underscores critical aspects needing attention.

Highlighting the absence of independent cybersecurity assessments, he stresses the need for internal evaluations and real-time threat monitoring.

Johari emphasizes the necessity of stringent data protection practices, including mandatory encryption and access controls, to align with global standards and ensure the security of the database.

The recent congestion issues, coupled with concerns about the security vulnerabilities of SMS-based authentication, have drawn criticism, highlighting the need for more secure and reliable authentication methods in the system.

Johari echoes the need for robust network designs and a shift towards more secure authentication methods like time-based one-time password (TOTP) or hardware tokens.

His insights shed light on crucial areas demanding attention to fortify PADU’s effectiveness and public trust.

The unveiling of PADU signifies a pivotal step towards data-driven governance.

However, to realize its full potential, addressing these concerns and embracing suggestions for improvement is imperative.

Emphasizing cybersecurity, data protection, system scalability, and enhanced authentication methods will fortify PADU, ensuring its efficacy and fostering public trust in this transformative initiative.

PADU is related to Sustainable Development Goal (SDG 8) – Decent Work and Economic Growth.

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