Is Malaysia's MyKad the 'One Card to Rule Them All'? The Urgent Need to Develop a Proper Legal Framework for the Protection of Personal Information in Malaysia
(2004) 28(2) Melbourne University Law Review 474-511
38 Pages Posted: 23 May 2012 Last revised: 16 Jun 2012
Date Written: June 1, 2004
In Malaysia, the national identity card system has been operational since 1949 even before Malaysia attained independence from British colonial rule. In September 2001, the Malaysian government officially launched a multipurpose smart identification card for its citizens. This smart card, named MyKad, incorporates in a single card multiple applications with several sets of personal information about the holder of the card.
The MyKad is the world's first government-backed smart card initiative and it has been heralded as a giant step in information technology both in Malaysia and worldwide. However, given the scope of the applications and the types of personal information contained in the MyKad, the implementation of the MyKad project raises crucial issues about the privacy and protection of the personal information of Malaysians. These issues are the subject matter of this article.
Part II begins with an outline of the background, technical operation and information content of the MyKad. Part III examines the information privacy implications arising from the extensive personal information that is and can be stored in the MyKad as well as the potential for misuse of such personal information by the government or other parties. In view of these implications, Part IV considers the existing legal framework in Malaysia and highlights inherent deficiencies in the extent of the current protection of personal information.
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