Malaysia’s National Digital ID: What we know so far…

Malaysia’s Cabinet has approved our National Digital Identity initiative, which is distinct from our existing National Registration Identity Card (NRIC), and is not meant to replace it.

The NRIC which we carry everywhere with us, identifies us and authenticates that we are who we say we are, when we subscribe to services like a mobile cellular service, or apply for other government-issued documents like passports and driving licenses, and so on.

But, as Malaysia seeks to actively participate in the digital economy, its citizens need to have the ability to enable their participation in a convenient, secure and seamless manner.

The National Digital ID initiative can help pave the way.

A Digital Identity plays an important role in enabling Digital Economy across different sectors, as well as bringing together new digital services and innovations.

Currently, users have to repeatedly provide large amounts of personal information to numerous platforms, and the more that their information is shared, the greater the risk to them.

Users are also juggling with multiple usernames and passwords to keep safe their identifying information to carry out various online transactions.

A reliable multimodal authentication system, equipped with a secure and trusted network is required in a digital identity management system to ensure users can prove their identity with reliable privacy and guaranteed security.

This digital ID allows the identity of an individual to be verified in cyberspace, so they may access online services and perform transactions on government services websites, banking websites and e-commerce websites, in a safe and secure manner.

Common FAQs

There is anticipation that at some point further down the road, our National Digital ID would integrate with our future e-immigration system.

Imagine, a single document instead of two, for us to be able to cross country borders.

It is still very, very early days yet, to talk about integration with Malaysia’s upcoming immigration system.

But, what we Do know however, can be summed up as the following:

  1. The countries that have deployed digital ID systems at a national level are Estonia, Australia, UK, Norway, Finland, UAE and so on.
  2. The Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC), the Ministry of Communications and Multimedia (KKMM), had drafted the Cabinet paper to propose the Digital ID implementation, after consolidating feedback from relevant agencies.
  3. MCMC is currently in preparation stage for a 9-month study which is slated to begin in September 2019.

The benefits and proposed use cases for the National Digital ID are:

a) more platforms for cashless payment transactions

b) a knowledge repository (about individuals??) across various agencies

c) more secure and protected financial transactions on e-banking websites

d) reduction in disclosure of personal information, and protected access to the Malaysian Data Warehouse (MyHDW) which holds patients information, their medical records and health insurance.

As of now, it is not compulsory for Malaysian individuals to set up their individual digital identities on the national system.

Not much more is know at this juncture, other than what was provided by KKMM, yesterday evening.