NEC Joins Race to Lead Malaysia’s National Digital ID Project

Jul 2019

Japanese ICT giant, NEC, has submitted a proposal to the Malaysian Ministry of Communications and Multimedia (KKMM) to provide biometric technology for a large-scale government program, which will see the introduction of biometric identities for all of Malaysia’s 32 million citizens. The project is meant to leverage digital IDs to encourage more growth in e-commerce and online industries, as well as enable e-payments and other new financial services.

NEC’s Biometric Identification System has been used in India’s 1.3 billion person Aadhaar program under the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI). The system utilizes multiple biometrics such as fingerprints, face images and iris images to distinguish between citizens. NEC hopes to replicate its experience in Malaysia.

Gobind Singh Deo, the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Minister announced the digital ID program last year, without revealing how much the government was considering investing in the project. The digital ID might be optional, and function as an extension of the national ID card, which is compulsory for all citizens from the age of 12. Malaysian regulatory agencies are currently conducting a study on the digital ID project, which will inform the cabinet’s implementation decisions. The study might continue into the new year.

However, the country is not new to biometric technologies, as the State of Penang has launched the first public facial recognition system in Malaysia for its CCTV network with more than 700 cameras, in January 2019. That project was specifically meant to track down wanted criminals and reduce criminal activity.

(Sources:; Nikkei Asian Review)

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