NEC enters race to supply biometric digital ID system

The government plans to introduce a digital ID system for all 32 million citizens. (www.nec.com pic)

PETALING JAYA: Japan’s NEC Corporation is reported to have submitted a proposal to supply the government’s digital identification project to introduce biometric identities for all 32 million citizens.

The government intends to finalise details of the project by year-end, according to NEC senior executive Norihiko Ishiguro, in an interview with Nikkei Asian Review.

The government plans to introduce a digital ID system that can be used in e-commerce and also in new financial services such as e-payments.

NEC intends to use its experience implementing digital biometric IDs in India as a blueprint for Malaysia, Ishiguro said.

Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission chairman Al-Ishsal Ishak said it was conducting a comprehensive study on the project which could last until next year.

The Cabinet would decide on the implementation of the Digital ID project after the study is completed.

Ishiguro revealed NEC’s interest in the project during Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s recent discussions with Japanese investors in Tokyo.

India launched a national identification system in 2010 that aims to provide all residents with a unique identity and a digital platform to authenticate it any time, anywhere. The programme uses a large-scale biometric system developed by NEC.

Multiple biometrics such as fingerprints, facial images and iris scans are used to distinguish more than 1.3 billion Indian citizens.

The Malaysian digital ID will not replace the national IC system and will not be mandatory.