KUALA LUMPUR: The Personal Data Protection (Amendment) Bill 2024, which aims to increase penalties from RM300,000 to RM1 million for offences committed by data controllers or data processors who violate personal data protection principles, was tabled for its first reading at the Dewan Rakyat today.

Digital Minister Gobind Singh Deo, when tabling the Bill, said that it will be presented for its second reading during the current Dewan Rakyat sitting.

According to the Parliament’s website, the Bill aims, among other things, to amend Section 5 of the Personal Data Protection Act 2010 (Act 709), such as paragraph 5(a) aims to ensure that a data processor complies with the Security Principles under Section 9 of Act 709.

“Paragraph 5(b) aims to increase the penalties for offences committed by data controllers or data processors who violate the Personal Data Protection Principles under subsections 5(1) and 5(1a) of Act 709,“ it said.

The Bill also seeks to improve the provisions related to the processing of personal data to align with international standards and practices.

It also aims to insert a new Section 43a into the law to introduce the right to data portability for data subjects, subject to technical feasibility and data format compatibility.

The Bill also seeks to amend Section 67 of Act 709 to stipulate that the procedure for opening and maintaining any bank account shall be conducted in a manner authorised by the commissioner.

Meanwhile, in a press conference in the Parliament building today, Gobind said the amendments show that the government views seriously the need to protect data that plays an important role in new technologies including artificial intelligence (AI).

“The amendments intend to ensure that no data is used without the consent of the owner of the data and to prevent the misuse of data during the use of existing and future digital platforms,” ​​he said.

Gobind, who hopes to gain the support of Members of Parliament so that the Bill is passed in the current sitting, also said that any views or suggestions presented during the debate will be welcomed to strengthen the law.

Regarding the number of complaints of misuse and breach of personal data, Gobind said that the Office of the Personal Data Protection (PDP) Commissioner received a total of 288 complaints as of June this year, compared with 779 complaints reported last year.

“Although on average there is a slight decrease due to continuous enforcement efforts by the PDP Commissioner’s Office, these figures are still worrying,” he said.