How Futurise supports tech innovation in Malaysia through policy-making

How Futurise supports tech innovation in Malaysia through policy-making

Rosihan Zain Baharudin, CEO, Futurise

In 2018, the Ministry of Finance Malaysia set up Futurise to lead the National Regulatory Sandbox (NRS) initiative to provide solutions to regulatory challenges that can potentially hinder tech and innovation from operating efficiently in the market.

The NRS initiative addresses industry and investor concerns that innovation can face challenges when deployed in a market with outdated (or lacking) regulatory frameworks.

“If I could put it in simpler terms, we pave the ground for new and innovative ideas to operate in the market by safely testing regulations and policies in a secured environment called a sandbox. The NRS brings together different groups like corporate organisations, government bodies, academia and entrepreneurs to solve regulatory challenges faced by innovation,” said Futurise CEO Rosihan Zain Baharudin in a press statement.

“The top-down approach used in yesteryears when prescribing regulatory frameworks may not be conducive to innovation. Futurise acts like a bridge, connecting different parts of the ecosystem – from regulators, industry players, organisations and relevant bodies. It is all about collaboration and ensuring that everyone can contribute to building a more innovative and advanced Malaysia.”

As the global economy continues to face uncertainties this year, Futurise aims to continue fostering conversations and collaborations in tech innovation with various parties. The organisation stated that more stakeholders have approached to present regulatory challenges that they faced.

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“We have seen innovation remain persistent in both favourable and tough conditions. It’s been seen that challenging market situations can give rise to new technology-driven solutions, products or ways business is conducted,” Baharudin said.

In this interview, e27 aims to understand more about the work of Futurise and how they aim to make a difference in Malaysia’s innovation. Here is an edited excerpt of the conversation:

How does Futurise differ from Malaysia’s previous effort to promote digital innovation? In what way is it better to respond to the industry’s needs?

The Government of Malaysia has mandated Futurise to drive the National Regulatory Sandbox, an initiative to facilitate the collaboration between industries and government to develop progressive regulatory frameworks for the Future Economy. Through the National Regulatory Sandbox, Futurise enables innovation and adaptive policy-making to accelerate lab-to-market adaptation for local technology solutions.

In promoting and supporting digital innovation in the country, Futurise has been working on various initiatives. Amongst them are: For Online Healthcare Services, we have established testing guidelines enabling health workers and practitioners to assess their online healthcare offerings under the oversight of the Malaysian Health Ministry.

We have also established regulation guidelines for Mobile Childcare Services, regulating safety and compliance under Jabatan Kebajikan Masyarakat (JKM). Concurrently, our ‘Insights for Impact’ Industry Study focuses on freelance educators in the gig economy and aims to develop policies that enhance resilience amid economic uncertainties, particularly in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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What are the most valuable lessons that Futurise learned from its recent milestones?

Futurise’s involvement in regulatory sandboxes is a dynamic platform, fostering an environment ripe for learning, innovation, and advancement amidst the intricate maze of regulations. This strategic engagement empowers stakeholders to navigate the complexities of regulatory frameworks while upholding stringent legal standards.

Drawing upon the wealth of insights from these experiences, Futurise emerges as a catalyst for industry players, steering them towards sustainable growth and igniting a culture of innovation. Through collaborative efforts with diverse stakeholders—including regulators, industry peers, consumers, and relevant entities—Futurise not only cultivates effective stakeholder engagement but also forges robust partnerships.

This collaborative ethos nurtures a climate of trust and transparency, propelling positive outcomes for consumers and
society at large.

What are Futurise’s thoughts on AI? Does it plan to respond to the growing interest in AI implementation in Southeast Asia?

Futurise is actively engaging with the rising interest in AI by teaming up with the Department of Personal Data Protection (JPDP) to launch the Data Protection & Privacy Regulatory Sandbox.

Recognising that data is the lifeblood of AI, driving its learning and performance, this collaboration is pivotal. Access to diverse, high-quality data is paramount for AI systems to thrive across various sectors.

In the sandbox, Futurise will craft seven guidelines under the Personal Data Protection Act 2010 (Act 709). These guidelines encompass critical aspects such as Notification of Data Breach, Data Protection Officers, Data Portability, Cross Border Data Transfer, Data Protection Impact Assessment, Privacy by Design, and Profiling and Automated Decision Making.

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Additionally, Futurise will play a key role in enhancing the existing Personal Data Protection Standard established in 2015, ensuring comprehensive standards and guidelines are in place to navigate the evolving AI landscape.

In 2023, Futurise collaborated with the Civil Aviation Authority of Malaysia (CAAM) to introduce the Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) certification (C-UAS) and Manned Electric Vertical Take-Off and Landing (eVTOL) aircraft national regulatory sandbox. In the same year, it also introduced the MyAutonomous Vehicle 5.0 Guideline and the National Drone Sports Strategic Roadmap (NADSAR) 2023-2027. Is there any reason why air mobility is such a significant focus?

Advanced Air Mobility (AAM) plays a vital role in shaping the modern world by facilitating rapid transportation, connecting distant locations, supporting economic growth, and addressing various societal challenges.

Many countries worldwide are accelerating the adoption of AAM as various regulators are warming up to the potential of this aerospace technology. In fact, the commercialisation of AAM is likely to take place in 2026. Thus, ambitious countries are racing to ensure the necessary infrastructure and, most importantly, the AAM regulatory framework is ready ahead of the take-off.

Image Credit: Futurise

This article was first published on February 19, 2024

The post How Futurise supports tech innovation in Malaysia through policy-making appeared first on e27.

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