Washington International Law Journal


Donna L. Beatty


Malaysia is in the process of developing the Multimedia Super Corridor ("MSC"), a high-tech zone sometimes called "the Silicon Valley of the East." As a way of attracting investors to the MSC, Malaysia is adopting business-friendly policies and comprehensive "cyberlaws" designed to assure MSC participants that they and their technology will be protected. One of Malaysia's many goals is to be a leader in the development of cyberlaws. However, the Computer Crimes Act 1997 is too flawed to place Malaysia in that role. The Computer Crimes Act is designed to prevent computer crimes such as hacking, virus planting and the cracking of passwords. Although the Act contains some progressive provisions that appear in recommendations adopted by organizations such as the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, some provisions lack clarity and can be interpreted in ways which make them overly broad and unenforceable. Other provisions seem to ignore the needs of corporate victims of computer crimes, thus failing to meet the goal of assuring potential MSC investors that their technology will be protected. By modifying some of the statutory language to clarify the meaning and by adopting provisions which offer more progressive solutions to the problem of computer crime, the Computer Crimes Act 1997 could contribute to Malaysia's standing as a leader in the development of cyberlaws.

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