Priority to expanding MyKad usage
12 Jun 2006
From tampered MyKads to errors in entering holders personal particulars, the National Registration Department has received much criticism for failing to be more careful. Some have also questioned the safety features of the MyKad. SARBAN SINGH talks to National Registration Department director-general Datuk Mohd Abdul Halim Muhammad.
Q: Is it true that nationals of other countries have tried to tamper with the MyKad?
A: Yes. In the past four years, we have detected slightly over 100 such cases. The majority are Indonesians followed by citizens of the Philippines, China, Myanmar, Pakistan, India and Bangladesh.
Q: Several non-Malaysians have been found in possession of a fake MyKad. How safe is the system?
A: Let me assure you that the MyKad cannot be cloned. I have never seen a cloned MyKad although many people say they exist. I would be grateful if anyone can show me a cloned MyKad.
What we have come across are attempts to tamper with the card. One can change the picture on the MyKad but not the information in the chip. Even if the picture is changed, you will be able to tell that it has been tampered with.
Q: Some people have had their faiths wrongly entered on the MyKad. Recently, there have been cases where non-Muslims had their religion stated as Islam. How can this happen?
A: We admit that clerical errors happen. In such cases, we replace the cards.
But if you were born a Buddhist and are now a Christian, all you need to do is to fill up a form at the NRD and we can make the changes in our system for free.
However, this change will not be shown in your MyKad. To do this, you must change your MyKad and you will have to pay RM10. We charge a fee for a new MyKad because when we issued it, we followed the religion stated in your birth certificate or in the holders fathers birth certificate. That is why we must be informed of any change in faith by those applying for their MyKad.
Q: Do Malaysians need to provide proof that they have changed faiths to make the necessary change in their MyKad?
A: No, that is no longer necessary. All you need to do is fill up Borang A at the NRD, which is a declaration, and we will make the change in the system.
Q: Why do some banks require people to produce their birth certificates or other supporting documents with their MyKad before they are allowed to open an account. Isnt the MyKad credible enough?
A: The banks may have their own procedures. I dont know what these are but I am told they ask for supporting documents as a secondary requirement. By right, all banks must have card readers to verify the authenticity of the MyKad.
Let me state here again that MyKad has sufficient safety features and the contents in its chip cannot be copied or amended. Banks can always check with us if they have doubts.
Q: Why do some people still face difficulties renewing their driving licences or using their Mykad as ATM cards?
A: The NRD only owns the identification portion. The rest of the applications belong to specific owners. There is no doubt there are many challenges to the widespread usage of its applications.
The NRD, with the co-operation of all application owners and other relevant parties, will gradually but surely implement programmes to increase the usage of MyKad applications.
Q: How would you rate the effectiveness of the MyKad?
A: The success of MyKad is on the usage of its applications. Our priority now is to promote its existing applications and to remove barriers to its usage.
Many spin-off applications can be generated from the existing ones. For example, MyKad has been used for entry into Sabah and Sarawak.
The passport information in MyKad has also been used as a Frequent Travellers Card between Miri and Brunei.
Q: Will the functions of MyKad be increased? If so, what is being considered?
A: It has eight features: identity card, driving licence, passport particulars, health information, Touch n Go, MEPS cash, ATM and access to government services such as checking income tax payments.
By the end of this year, all Malaysians will be able to upload these features into their MyKad. We will then work to add more applications.
Q: In April, Deputy Home Minister Datuk Tan Chai Ho said the penalty for losing the MyKad might be increased to RM300. This was because about 1.7 million cards had been reported lost in the past five years.
A: We have not finalised this. Any increase will take into account the ability of Malaysians to pay.
At present, those who lose their card for the first time will have to pay a compound of RM10. They will also have to pay RM10 for a new application and another RM10 in processing fees.
If you lose your card a second time, you will have to pay a compound fine of RM30, RM50 for the third time, RM70 for the fourth and RM120 for the fifth.
Our officers will investigate those who lose their cards many times.
Q: Have you simplified the procedure for those who lose their cards?
A: We have made it simpler for Malaysians to apply for new cards, such asdoing away with the requirement to lodge a police report first.
Q: When will the old identity card be phased out?
A: The Government has yet to decide on this.