Cabinet green-lights National Digital Identity

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

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KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 26 — The Cabinet has approved the implementation of the National Digital Identity (National Digital ID) initiative, the Communications and Multimedia Ministry announced today.

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 not a substitute for the existing National Registration Identity Card (NRIC) or compulsory.

It is instead an advanced method of authenticating a user’s identity online.

“As a first step, a comprehensive study will be conducted from September 2019, for a period of nine months.

This study will identify a holistic National Digital ID framework and will propose recommendations to the government on appropriate implementation models that meet the needs of the people and businesses,” the ministry said.

In addition, the country’s existing infrastructure has laid the foundation for the development of the National Digital ID and that is an advantage as it paves the way for a potential leapfrog upon the completion of the study in mid-2020.

“This study will involve the government, private and academic collaboration.

“It is hoped that coordinated research and efforts among the key stakeholders from all sectors, industries and the public will provide a better mechanism for the implementation of the National Digital ID in the country.

“It will also take into account Malaysia’s unique context including the existing MyKad and private infrastructure, current factors, as well as identifying new policies,” the ministry said.

Malaysia takes after other countries in the region such as Singapore and Thailand among others, in spearheading the development of a National Digital ID platform, which enable users to transact in a safe and seamless manner.

“Whether it is a user setting up an account for the first time, logging-in to obtain government service or do business or making a digital payment, the National Digital ID enables the digital service providers to make highly accurate trust decisions in real time,” the ministry added.

According to the ministry, it will be convenient for the people as they no longer have to keep track of different usernames and passwords for various services or carry multiple tokens to transact digitally.

“With omni-channel access, transactions can be made securely on any device anytime, anywhere, even abroad.

“In addition, for the government services and businesses, the National Digital ID will enable innovative and value added digital services that facilitate end-to-end business processes with digital signing.

“This will promote process improvements and create efficiency as the platform is expected to adopt interoperability standards,” the ministry said.

The National Digital ID is also expected to provide stronger security and trust for high value transactions through greater identity assurance leveraging on robust technologies.

Last October, the ministry announced its cooperation on the project between the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission and Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation.

This is the second time the country is proposing to create such a platform.

It was reported that in 2011, the previous administration announced the 1Malaysia email project that was to form the basis of a national digital ID, part of the Economic Transformation Programme.

The 1Malaysia email project was a government initiative to provide a unique and official email account and ID for Malaysians and would allow them to receive statements, bills and notices from the government.

The project, however, did not take off after it came under fire whether it would be funded by public funds or private sector.

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