Digital I.D’s for Malaysians in the pipeline
Communications and Multimedia Minister Gobind Singh Deo said that all Malaysians may soon have a national digital identification card.
“A plan for a national digital ID is being formulated. This digital ID is not meant to replace the MyKad nor would it be mandatory for everyone,” he said at the launch of the Malaysiakini e-commerce summit on October 11.
Gobind said that such an ID would provide a verifiable platform of trust.
“Let me give you an example. When one applies for membership in a certain organisation, more often than not, the organisation would request for a photocopy/image of your MyKad.
“That is not an example of trust nor is it ‘verifiable’.
“In comparison, this is what a national digital ID can offer: You could apply to be a member of that organisation by registering your application using the national digital ID. This would be a trusted and verifiable platform,” said Gobind.
He added that a national digital identification would have many merits and be an integral and crucial platform for the digital government initiative which was announced at the ‘Malaysia: A New Dawn’ conference on October 9.
Another example would be this, the government and/or agencies can deliver targeted subsidies efficiently via an eWallet account that had been registered using the national digital ID.
“We are here today to learn about and encourage the growth of eCommerce. The national digital ID would allow for trusted eCommerce transactions where both the seller and buyer are verified using a secure national digital ID system, thus eliminating elements of fraud and cheating.
There is no doubt in anyone’s mind that eCommerce is an important and necessary stepping stone to ‘future proof’ existing businesses while opening up market access to the whole world.
The interconnectivity accorded by the Internet enables even the smallest vendors (including those who are selling part-time as a hobby) to leverage on the ecosystems of global giants like Alibaba.com and eBay, and home-grown heroes alike.
This is the second time Malaysia is looking into creating such a platform. In 2011, the previous administration under former premier Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak announced the 1Malaysia email project that was to form the basis of a national digital ID as part of the Economic Transformation Program (ETP).
The official government line then was:
“The 1Malaysia Email project is a government initiative in providing a unique and official email account and ID for the citizens of Malaysia.
“This initiative will serve to allow direct and secure communications between citizens and the government, as well as enhance the delivery of government services to consumers and businesses alike.”
The RM50mil contract was awarded to Tricubes Bhd but faltered after it was revealed that the company was in the danger of being delisted because of financial irregularities. It was ultimately delisted in 2012.
There was also a grey area whether the project would be funded by Tricubes itself or by the Malaysian taxpayer.
The company was also going to charge government agencies 50sen for each email sent through its platform.
Gobind added that there were five building blocks that needed to be in place to attract foreign investment to Malaysia and these five points were crucial to a thriving eCommerce ecosystem.
i. High-quality, world-class infrastructure at affordable prices;
ii. Tech talent development;
iii. Increased cybersecurity vigilance;
iv. Development of platforms and enablers such as Digital ID, open data and open APIs; and
v. Legislation, policies and industry structures that support the growth of the digital economy.
These would result in widespread digital adoption and accelerate the growth of digital entrepreneurship.
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