Malaysia’s national R&D center will implement digital ID; registrations start next week
Malaysian Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim is about to make good on his promise to fast-track the launch of the country’s digital identity program. The Edge Malaysia reports that the PM has named an implementation agency and announced that registrations for digital ID will begin next week across government, kickstarted with an allotment of RM80 million (approximately US$17 million).
First announced in late 2021, the Digital Identity Development Project (IDN) aims to secure a user-controlled biometric digital identification and verification system that matches an individual’s biometric data against a government database. Mimos Berhad, Malaysia’s national applied research and development center under the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation, has been selected to implement the rollout, and is the recipient of the associated funding.
PM Anwar indicated that the RM80 million infusion is to be followed by further investment, in a continued push for national digital transformation centered around digital ID. The Prime Minister has a goal of bringing Malaysia into the top 30 global startup economies by 2030, with Kuala Lumpur as its high-tech hub. In the short term, he says, digital ID is needed to disburse targeted subsidies and other benefits.
He believes the launch of the national digital ID program can happen in three months’ time.
The government’s appointment of Mimos, which was originally established in 1985 under the Prime Minister’s Department to focus on R&D in microelectronics, is indicative of a larger desire to build Malaysia’s national base of highly skilled engineers, which Anwar alluded to in a speech delivered at Mimos headquarters this week.
“If we want to elevate the dignity, status and well-being of our country, then we must harness our internal strengths first,” the PM said. “This does not mean we don’t learn from foreign experiences. We want our country to progress and not be left behind, but not by copying or surrendering to foreign technology. Instead, we should advance with our internal strengths and expertise. This country cannot move at a leisurely pace for too long; we need to put on a spurt.”