BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN – The Attorney General’s Chambers (AGC) is looking to update legislation to tackle new technological threats associated with cybercrime.

The newly-appointed Attorney General YB Dato Paduka Hj Hairol Arni Hj Abdul Majid on Tuesday said the chambers was reviewing current laws to see how they could be improved to “ease investigative procedures and enhance penalties where necessary”. 

Dato Hj Hairol was speaking the opening of the 11th China-ASEAN Prosecutors-General Conference held in Bandar Seri Begawan, themed “Enhancing capabilities and cooperation in addressing cybercrime”. The conference is a regional cooperation mechanism sponsored by the the Chinese government. 

“It is worth emphasising, that in order for our legal frameworks governing cybercrime to be strong and robust, they need to be supported by capable human capital and resources. We need to cultivate experts in our jurisdictions in these areas,” he said.

Since 2011, the AGC has prosecuted 14 cybercrime offences, particularly those related to social media such as defamation, spreading of false information and uploading obscene material on social media platforms. 

Heads of delegations pose in a group photo with Brunei’s attorney general YB Dato Hj Hairol (6R) and Minister at the PMO YB Dato Hj Awang Abdul Mokti (7R). Photo: Courtesy of AGC

The attorney general also touched on the mounting challenge of trying to combat fake news.

Within the past week, there have been at least two incidents of fake news prompting public panic in Brunei: a doctored image falsely claiming that contaminated rice being sold in stores; and a viral video warning people not to eat farmed shrimp because they were infected with tapeworms.

“Even a small jurisdiction like ours, is not spared,” Dato Hj Hairol said, noting that Brunei has an internet penetration rate of 95 percent.

Cybercrime continues to escalate at an alarming rate due to its swift, anonymous and borderless nature, he said, citing offences such as money laundering, fraud, and the propagation of extremist ideologies.