The National Digital Identity (NDI) will be fully implemented in 2024, according to Malaysia Home Minister Hamzah Zainudin.

He said the initiative would not replace MyKad, the identification card currently in use, but would instead be a form of digital identification and self-authentication for individuals, using the latest biometric technology such as fingerprints, facial or iris recognition, the country’s national agency Bernama reported on Thursday.

“The digital verification of individuals is important, to prevent identity fraud in online transactions that can be detrimental to the country,” he said during the 73rd National Registration Day which was held online.

The rollout of digital ID also came as the need for online services and transactions has surged in the country.

Hamzah said the NDI planning process began this year, with the National Registration Department (NRD) information and communication technology (ICT) system and infrastructure to be improved, so that it would always be up to date and safe to handle user identity verification matters through NDI.

In neighboring Singapore, the government has launched Singpass, a personal authentication system that allows users to access various Government services online, in 2003. An enhanced SingPass has been launched in July 2015. The enhanced version includes an improved user interface, mobile-friendly features, and stronger security capabilities.

Users can log in to digital services through the Singpass app using their fingerprint, facial recognition, or a 6-digit passcode. Additional useful features have been added to the Singpass app where users can use it to access one’s digital IC, perform internet banking, manage insurance policies, and digitally sign documents, among others.

In November last year, the Bank of Thailand expects around 40 million depositors will register for digital ID authentication under the National Digital ID (NDID) platform after expanding digital customer verification to other financial service providers apart from commercial banks, Bangkok Post reported. The Government of Thailand has introduced a national digital ID project in 2019.

Meanwhile, Hamzah also said the NRD and police were also developing an Integrated Mortality Data Verification System, which was an integration between the NRD and the Police Reporting System (PRS), involving 690 police stations in Peninsular Malaysia.

The system would facilitate the process of verifying deaths reported at the 690 police stations and non-criminal deaths at home.

“The transition and improvement from the old system to digital has proven to be able to increase the level of security of personal data information of Malaysians, especially in curbing irresponsible activities such as identity card forgery and the ‘black economy’,” he added.

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