Malaysia and Singapore to work together to strengthen digital economy and green economy

Malaysia and Singapore to work together to strengthen digital economy and green economy

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Under the framework of cooperation in digital economy, both countries agree to cooperate in areas such as investment promotion and facilitation in digitalisation and cross-border data flows.

On 30 January 2023, Malaysia and Singapore inked two Frameworks on Cooperation (FoC) in digital economy and green economy during Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim's inaugural visit to Singapore.

The two frameworks are expected to lay the foundation for future bilateral initiatives in the spheres of the digital and green economies. They were signed at the Istana by Malaysia's Minister of International Trade and Industry Tengku Datuk Seri Utama Zafrul bin Tengku Abdul Aziz and Singapore's Minister of State for Trade and Industry Gan Kim Yong, and witnessed by PM Anwar and Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.

Framework on cooperation in digital economy 

Malaysia and Singapore agreed to expand areas of economic cooperation in the digital economy to keep the trade flowing by facilitating interoperability between the two countries.

Under the Framework of Cooperation in Digital Economy, both countries agree to cooperate in the following areas:

  • Trade facilitation: Accelerate the digitalisation of the entire process of trade, which allows businesses to transact online and across borders with greater ease,
  • Cross-border data flows: Support cross-border data flows, including through the use of interoperable mechanisms for the protection of personal data,
  • Electronic payments: To deepen collaboration on the development of efficient, safe and secure cross-border e-payments systems,
  • Digital identities: To promote exchanges and knowledge-sharing to facilitate the interoperability and development of our respective digital identity regimes, for both individuals and businesses. This includes efforts to support the development of the ASEAN Unique Business Identification Number (UBIN),
  • Business/ consumer trust: To explore collaboration in new and emerging areas to build trust in digital system,
  • Standards: To encourage business adoption of interoperable standards/frameworks related to the digital economy, such as on e-invoicing,
  • Investment promotion and facilitation in digitalisation: To collaborate in mutually beneficial programmes that facilitate investments in digitalisation, including in partnership with private sector stakeholders,
  • MSMEs digitalisation: To facilitate initiatives that support the digitalisation of MSMEs and industries, so as to enhance their competitiveness and maintain dynamism in our economies,
  • Regulatory and governance framework: To foster deeper conversations and alignment on new and emerging technologies.

Preliminary discussions are also progressing on potential projects that can pursued between both countries upon the signing of this FoC. This would include:

  1. potential bilateral pilot on corporate digital identities as a proof-of-concept for the ASEAN Unique Business Identification Number Network (UBIN) system,
  2. knowledge-sharing on the development of Singapore's national digital identity regime as a foundational step toward eventual cross-border bilateral and regional mutual recognition,
  3. collaboration to support the digitisation of MSMEs.

Framework on cooperation in green economy 

Both countries agreed that aside from digital, green is another sphere of the economy that equally requires focus and priorities. Recognising the cost of losses and damage from climate change, they highlighted deep collaboration as a way out of the climate crisis. The green economy is likely to be able to help attain three-pronged objectives: environmental, economic and social benefit.

As such, the following was covered under this FoC:

  • Next generation mobility: To explore collaboration on EV and AV standards and the adoption of technical references, as well as on EV charging standards and the deployment of EV charging points,
  • Environmental, social and governance: Capacity development programme for exporter, as well as to facilitate knowledge sharing and business networking for enterprises from both countries to learn about sustainable business practices and explore collaboration,
  • Low-carbon solutions (such as hydrogen and carbon capture, utilisation and storage): To exchange information (including on technical and regulatory issues) and explore joint studies and demonstration projects on low-carbon solutions, particularly hydrogen and carbon capture, utilisation and storage,
  • Carbon credits industry collaboration: To exchange information on carbon markets and to explore collaboration between Singapore and Malaysia companies in voluntary carbon credits projects,
  • Development of new and renewable energy related technology standards to support domestic and regional decarbonisation: To exchange information on the development of new and renewable energy related technology standards, which could support regional decarbonisation.

Lead image / Shutterstock

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