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MCMC, Singaporean counterpart ink deal to fight phone scams

Malay Mail
Malay Mail

KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 27 — Malaysian and Singaporean regulators have signed an agreement to fight scams across telecommunications channels that have cost citizens of both countries hundreds of millions of ringgits in losses.

Singapore’s Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) said in a statement that it and the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) on February 25 in Barcelona, Spain, at the Mobile World Congress.

Nikkei Asia reported that Singaporeans were cheated of S$651.8 million last year, or around S$110 per person on average.

In 2020, Malaysians reportedly lost RM287 million in 6,003 cases to phone scams.

Authorities said the agreement aims to strengthen cross-border exchange of “strategic intelligence” to combat scams conducted on telecom channels, primarily via phone calls and texts, and drive a coordinated regional approach to better protect citizens.

“The key areas of cooperation include: provide regulatory assistance and cooperation related to scam telephone calls and text messages; facilitate research and education related to scam telephone calls and text messages; and facilitate the mutual exchange of knowledge and expertise through training programmes and staff exchanges,” said IMDA in a statement.

The Singaporean agency said that online scams were a cross border issue requiring strong cooperation amongst countries. Singapore and Malaysia have collaborated across many issues, such as cross border enforcement actions against scammers.

The MOU was signed by MCMC chairman Tan Sri Mohamad Salim Fateh Din and Lew Chuen Hong, chief executive of IMDA.

In addition, the two neighbours plan to share knowledge and expertise through training programs and staff exchanges. Singapore already has similar agreements with New Zealand, the US and Australia.

An increasing number of scammers has taken advantage of the country’s developed networks to cheat people of their money in schemes involving jobs, e-commerce and investment.