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Malaysian digital ID available to public from July 2024

Malaysian digital ID available to public from July 2024

Malaysia’s digital identity – known as MyDigital ID – will be available to the general public by July next year, according to the country’s national research and development center Mimos in charge of implementing the project.

MyDigital ID will be rolled out in four phases, starting with the members of the Malaysian Cabinet and followed by civil servants, government benefits recipients and finally the general public, says Saat Shukri Embong, head of the technology venture sector at Mimos.

“By then we will have about 30 million people onboard. With the volume, we hope it can entice private sectors like banks to adopt MyDigital ID,” Saat said on Wednesday during a press briefing, according to Edge Malaysia.

The registration process is expected to start in full swing in March next year, according to the country’s Minister of Communications and Digital Fahmi Fadzil.

Malaysia’s digital ID project was rolled out last week with RM80 million (US$17 million) allocated for its implementation. Saat estimated the cost of the project at less than RM10 million (US$2,1 million) so far.

Registration for the app requires submitting Malaysian identity card MyKad and thumbprint scanning at government premises.

The verification involves checks against multiple government databases, which lowers the chances of error, says Saat. Users will be issued a certificate as proof of identity which can be used to access government services. He added that the government is hoping to streamline government services into a single portal for accessing government services.

Government addresses security concerns of MyDigital ID

The Malaysian government is also working hard to dispel concerns about hacks and identity theft.

Home Minister’s Office’s special duties officer Azman Hussin went on television last week to assure the public that even the most advanced computing will not be able to break MyDigital ID’s cryptography, The Sun Malaysia reports.

“More proudly, the technology we use is very secure, which in the future is expected to create a quantum computer that can break all existing cryptography, but our algorithm for this digital ID, the quantum computer will not be able to break it,” Azman said during a television broadcast.

The government is also trying to tackle conspiracy theories involving the program, such as that it involves implanting chips under the skin.

Communications Minister Fazil announced that Mimos will open an information counter to dispel the rumors. The counter will be open during the one year anniversary of the Malaysian government policy framework Madani which started on Friday in Kuala Lumpur. The Information Department (JaPen) will assist Mimos in providing explanations and clarifications regarding the use of the national digital identity, says Fadzil.

More plans for MyDigital ID

The country is taking great pride in developing the digital ID system entirely by local expertise and resources. The Digital ID project will directly enable the ecosystem of local industry players working in related technologies while avoiding reliance on external experts, Azman says.

The MyDigital ID is developing with local talent and collaboration with domestic small and medium enterprises. This means that the government will have full control of the system without any potential sovereign threat or concern from foreign parties, according to Mimos’ Saat.

The government has more plans for MyDigital ID, including using the digital ID to distribute aid more efficiently during natural disasters and other crises, Malaysian national news agency Bernama reports.

The Malaysian Cyber Consumer Association also noted that the digital ID could be used to reduce bureaucracy and optimize the distribution of government benefits.

The MyDigital ID service is optional and will not replace the country’s current physical ID card.

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