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Cabinet greenlights Malaysia’s National Digital Identity

The Cabinet has approved the implementation of the National Digital Identity (National Digital ID) initiative, the Communications and Multimedia Ministry.

The National Digital ID is a government effort to help spur Malaysians’ confidence in the digital economy.

The Ministry of Communications and Multimedia will spearhead the initiative, while a detailed study on the implementation model will be carried out by Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC), the ministry said in a statement.

The ministry added that the National Digital ID is an advanced method of authenticating a user’s identity online.

In February 2019, OpenGov Asia reported that the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) was moving in the right direction with regards to the Digital ID project.

It was noted that 2019 would be the year of the Digital ID field, where it was being formulated to provide a verifiable platform of trust in cyberspace.

The Digital ID enables the government to ensure and prove people’s identity especially when people do business or are dealing with it via online method. With the ID, people can ensure that they are dealing with the right person.

The Head noted that as an extra measure towards realising the Malaysian Digital ID, the Communications and Multimedia Ministry had brought forward the proposal to the Cabinet for this Digital ID to be implemented.

It was noted that the Digital ID project included a few phases before being implemented, such as field study and technologies landscape, as well as the cost-benefit.

It is expected that the coming year will see a lot happening with the Digital ID project; the study will most likely be completed in the second quarter of 2019 and quarter three and four will leave more room for other things regarding the Digital ID to be done.

Earlier, the Deputy Communications and Multimedia Minister urged that industry players to act quickly and keep pace with the rapid advancement in the digital technology revolution.

It was noted that information and communication technology (ICT) was transforming and building societies to be more resilient and sustainable, as it had the extraordinary potential to improve social and economic development, as well as environmental protection.

OpenGov Asia reported on Malaysia’s Digital ID earlier, noting that the ID will serve as a “platform of trust” aimed at eliminating elements of fraud and cheating. He had stated that a plan for a national digital ID is being formulated.

The digital ID is not meant to replace the current form of identity verification which is a compulsory identity card for Malaysian citizens aged 12 and above, nor would it be mandatory for everyone.

While MDEC has vast experience in the area, it would be bringing in other stakeholders. To ensure the legality of the creation of this national digital ID, the ministry would study various pieces of existing legislation, including the Perso­nal Data Protection Act 2010.

Possessing the national digital ID would enable Malaysians to enjoy numerous benefits. Moreover, a national digital ID will be an integral and crucial platform for the digital government initiative. The government or its agencies can deliver targeted subsidies efficiently via an e-Wallet account that has been registered using the national digital ID.

Later, in June 2019, OpenGov reported that the Malaysian government intends to finalize details of the project by the end of 2019.

A major information technology company has the competition to lead Malaysia’s digital identification project. The Japanese technology company has submitted a proposal to Malaysia’s Communications and Multimedia Ministry, which is spearheading the project on behalf of the federal government.

Malaysia has one of the highest Internet and mobile phone penetration rates in Southeast Asia, and this has spurred rapid growth in the country’s e-commerce sector and other internet-related industries.

The government is hoping to encourage further growth with a digital ID system that can be used not just in e-commerce, but also in new financial services such as e-payments. The digital ID system is the key to the government’s initiative to make Malaysia a technology-led nation.

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