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To What Extent Does Malaysia’s National Fourth Industrial Revolution Policy Address AI Security Risks?

Jun-E Tan

July 2022

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4IR technologies are not scrutinized for the social and environmental problems that they may bring; instead, great faith is placed on technological innovation which may not address systemic and structural causes to the problems.


The National Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) Policy was launched in July 2021 as a guiding document for Malaysia’s direction in maximizing growth opportunities and mitigating potential risks arising from 4IR technologies. This chapter explores the policy to examine the extent to which Artificial Intelligence (AI) security risks are addressed, using the AI Security Map by Newman (2019) as a framework. In the policy, 4IR technologies including AI are seen through a techno-utopian lens, therefore its focus centres on rapid adoption rather than regulation and resilience. It is found that most of the policy initiatives focus on economic security and capacity building for the state, in order to keep up with the developmental race. Other areas of AI security such as the risks of unintended consequences or unsafe outcomes of AI, or risks of AI being used for malicious purposes, receive much less attention. However, as the N4IRP is still in its nascent stages of implementation, there is still room for its cross-ministerial governance structure to work on providing safeguards across different domains and sectors to achieve holistic and sustainable development.

Jun-E Tan

Dr. Jun-E Tan is a Senior Research Associate at Khazanah Research Institute (KRI). Her current research interests include digital rights and AI governance in the contexts of Southeast Asia and Malaysia. She has also worked in the areas of environmental and climate policy, social and solidarity economy, as well as sustainable development in general. 

The views and opinions expressed in this chapter are those of the author and may not necessarily represent the official views of KRI.