By Jainisah Mohd Noor

MyKad: A gateway to privileges for all

With a single MyKad number as a reference, Malaysians can now access the multitude of services being offered by government agencies at both federal and state levels.

The ‘1 Number For All Transactions’ initiative, launched by Deputy Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yasin on Jan 18 and inspired by Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak’s ‘People First’ concept, goes to show how far the humble identity card has come.

What started off in 1948 as a security measure to control the communist insurgency has evolved into a high-tech identification and privilege card, providing all Malaysians with a single gateway to a host of services and entitlements. Additionally with the ‘1 Number for All Transactions’ initiative, the MyKad will enable faster delivery of these privileges.

As countries were just beginning to look into improving their citizen identification systems, Malaysia was already ahead of the curve when it introduced the MyKad on Sept 5, 2001. One of the seven flagship applications of the Multimedia Super Corridor (MSC), it propelled Malaysia into the forefront of world-class innovative technology.

Malaysia became the first country in the world to use an identification card that incorporated both photo identification and fingerprint biometric data on an in-built computer chip embedded into a piece of plastic.

The 64K MyKad has been designed for extensibility and is capable of multiple functions as driving license, Touch n Go, Meps cash and ATM card. It also can hold passport information, health information, Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) to enable electronic transactions and as a frequent traveler card.

Apart from an identification card, the MyKad is increasingly being used as a verification tool to identify the owner of the MyKad with the following entitlements and privileges such as:

  • Online statement for Employees Provident Fund,
  • Microfinance Monitoring System under Mara,
  • Visitor Data Management System,
  • Passport Renewal,
  • Loyalty Programme and as a
  • Discount card.

The MyKad will increasingly be used to enable its holders access to more entitlements in future and Malaysians should not miss out on them because they don't have a MyKad.

Additionally, MyKad holders are encouraged to periodically check their MyKads. Because of the advanced features of the smart chip on the card, the card is very sensitive and is susceptible to damage if handled roughly such as leaving it in the wash.

MyKads can be checked at any Jabatan Pendaftaran Negara (JPN) branch office. For a list of JPN branch offices please refer here.

The MyKad is a piece of plastic with an embedded microchip and has the dimensions of a standard credit card. The original card contained a 32K Eeprom (Electrically Erasable Programmable Read-Only Memory) chip running on the M-Cos (MyKad Chip Operating System). In November 2002, all new MyKads were issued with a chip having an increased capacity of 64K.

The card supports a digital signature key, which is authenticated by a central authority when the card is created. Authenticity and integrity of the data is protected and inaccessible to anyone, apart from the relevant government agencies and the owner of the MyKad.

While the 32K MyKad had limited storage space and application capabilities the 64K MyKad doubled the amount of storage space, increased the number of applications and had the ability to add new applications or remove old applications.

The 64K MyKad is indicated with ‘64K Chip’ at the back of the MyKad.