Gombak, 1 November 2023. In view of the continuous excellence tradition and the pursuit of AIKOL strategic research plan, the Communications, Technology and Artificial Intelligence Governance Research Unit, Ahmad Ibrahim Kulliyyah of Laws (AIKOL), IIUM organised a talk entitled “Global Trends and Issues Operationalising Personal Data Protection: A Petronas Perspective” on 1 November 2023, located in Al-Nawawi Conference Room, AIKOL Building, Gombak. The event is another collaboration between AIKOL, IIUM and Petronas, the Malaysia’s leading oil and gas multinational company. The objective of the event is to learn from PETRONAS’ experience how to comply the personal data protection (PDP) law in the context of their business. It is also to showcase how an international organisation like Petronas deals with the international legal and regulatory frameworks on PDP.

During the opening of the Talk, the Dean of Ahmad Ibrahim Kulliyyah of Laws Professor Farid Sufian Shuaib reiterated the strategic collaboration between the Kulliyyah and Petronas that has run for many years, citing among others the series of talk by Petronas officers on various legal matters, series of training by the Harun M. Hashim Law Centre to Petronas officers, as well as various practical attachments and industrial linkages programmes. The Dean noted the collaboration very positively stating that there many other areas of collaboration that can be done in near future.

Associate Professor Dr Sonny Zulhuda who is the Coordinator of the Research Unit and the convener of the Talk highlighted that through this Talk and the likes, the Kuliiyyah aims to streamline major legal debates on communications, technology and Artificial Intelligence (AI) law issues among its scholars, researchers and students. Therefore, more events will be further pursued to include the relevant areas including personal data protection, AI regulations, cyber security law, digital economy as well as Internet governance.

The speakers of the event were data privacy officers from Petronas group, namely Pn. Sharifah Anisah Syed Omar (Custodian, Data Privacy, Petronas Group) and Mr. Che Muhammad Amir Che Lai (Staff, Data Privacy, Petronas Group). The event was may be regarded as a homecoming from Pn. Sharifah Anisah as she was pursued her LLB degree from the IIUM too. The event drew interest from some key officers who are dealing with the personal data protection compliance works in IIUM such the Chief Digital Officer or IIUM Prof. Dato Dr. Norbik Bashah Idris, and the IIUM Director of Information Technology Division (ITD) Mdm. Nurmaliza Jumaat. A mix of students from Law and ICT faculties came to listen to the Talk.

The speakers in their delivery shared practical information about how Petronas strategises the compliance of PDP law in their business. They emphasise the need for organisation to identify the enterprise risks and to be reminded of the legal, financial and reputational liabilities in the event if PDP law is not complied with. In the context of Petronas, they have to deal with diverse requirements of law based on different jurisdictions. There is a huge challenge in dealing with the international legal environment relating to PDP law, taking into account certain restrictive laws such as the EU GDPR, China, ASEAN and Indian laws. The speakers also made a point that learning PDP law is a necessity in the near future. They agreed that PDP law knowledge and skill can be another job marketability advantage for our students due to the increasing need, nationally and globally, to the data protection specialist by virtue of both business risks and the various legal requirements. Even in Malaysia, the law may change to make it a requirement to appoint a DPO (Data Protection Officer) for data users in Malaysia.

From the organisational point of view, it is important to highlight to the top management the enterprise risks faced by IIUM in order to get the support in allocating resources for complying with PDPA law. Other than that, the acculturation of data privacy in the organisational environment is a must. At the event, the director of ITD of IIUM took time to also share the current initiatives taken by IIUM in complying with the PDP law in the context of IIUM. At the end of the delivery, the Moderator invites questions from the audience. There were in total 6 questions raised during the discussion

Both Petronas and the Kulliyyah are looking forward to strengthening our collaboration in future and to providing more programmes of mutual benefit. The Coordinator of the Communications, Technology, AI Governance Research Unit thanks Petronas and the Kulliyyah and all participants for their immense support and contribution towards making this event a success.