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Malaysia plans 10M digital ID enrollments in Q1 of 2024 amid data privacy fears

Malaysia plans 10M digital ID enrollments in Q1 of 2024 amid data privacy fears

Authorities in Malaysia say they hope to have 10 million persons registered for the MyDigital ID within the first three months of 2024. They may have to first reassure the public that their data will be safe.

The Malysia digital ID project was announced earlier this month with implementing partner Mimos saying the project would effectively commence in July.

According to Home Minister, Datuk Seri Datuk Seri Saifuddin Nasution Ismail, the 10 million registration target is attributed to Mimos, reports The Edge Malaysia.  

Speaking during a ceremony to open a national registration department branch office, the Home Minister emphasized the importance of the project, citing the budgeted sum of RM 380 million (US$80 million). The official notes that the project is part of the country’s growth and development ambitions and also aligns with public policy aimed at simplifying a complex online ecosystem.

Explaining the digital ID, Saifuddin said it will serve as a secure personal identification document for various purposes including business and banking transactions as well as a tool to have access to government sector services.

The new digital ID, officials say, will not replace the Malaysia Identity Card (Mykad). It will be an ID with high security features with many functionalities of Mykad to enable users have access to a number of public services.

Mneahwile, as the government carries on with plans to ensure wide adoption of the MyDigital ID, there are increasing fears about the safety of citizen data being collected, considering the spate of data leak incidents in the Southeast Asian country.

Meanwhile a recent data incident targeting the Social Security Organization – a government-run social security protection agency — has sparked concerns about data security with the new digital ID scheme, reports Malay Mail.

The outlet quotes a cybersecurity agency CEO, Murugason R. Thangaratnam, as reiterating the importance of properly dealing with data vulnerabilities.

The expert says the introduction of the MyDigital ID will be a strong attraction for cybercriminals who will be lurking around to find ways of stealing personal data if strong security walls are not built. Malaysians have also become skeptical about the interoperability of diverse systems over the years, he cautions.

Thangaratnam suggests that there is need for authorities to put in place a mechanism that will offer strong protection against misuse of MyDigital ID. Also, the cyber expert calls on the Malaysian government to show proof of accountability and transparency in the management of data-related issues.

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