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MyKad is the compulsory identity document for Malaysian citizens aged 12 and above. Introduced by the National Registration Department of Malaysia on 5 September 2001 as one of four MSC Malaysia flagship applications and a replacement for the High Quality Identity Card (Kad Pengenalan Bermutu Tinggi), Malaysia became the first country in the world to use an identification card that incorporates both photo identification and fingerprint biometric data on an in-built computer chip embedded in a piece of plastic.

Besides the main purpose of the card as a validation tool and proof of citizenship other than the birth certificate, MyKad also serves as a valid driver's license, an ATM card, an electronic purse, and a public key, among other applications, as part of the Malaysian Government Multipurpose Card (GMPC) initiative.

Other cards which are currently in use or soon to be introduced in the GMPC initiative and share similar features are:

1. MyKid – for Malaysian citizens under the age of 12 including newborns;
2. MyPR – for Malaysian Permanent Residents;
3. MyTentera – for Malaysian Armed Forces personnel; and
4. MyPolis – for Royal Malaysian Police personnel.


The term MyKad is a compound of two words with ambiguous meanings; namely My and Kad.

My refers to:

The ISO 3166-1 alpha-2 code for Malaysia; or

Kad can refer to:

The translation of card into the Malay language; or
The acronym for Kad Akuan Diri or Personal Identification Card; or
The acronym for Kad Aplikasi Digital or Digital Application Card.

Technical specifications

The initial MyKad was a contact card solution developed and manufactured by IRIS Corporation. Made of PC with the dimensions in the ISO/IEC 7816 ID-1 format (standard credit card format), the initial card had a 32kb EEPROM (Electronically Erasable Programmable Read-Only Memory) embedded chip running on M-COS (MyKad Chip Operating System). In November 2002, the capacity was increased to 64kb.

The upgraded and current version of the MyKad is a hybrid card containing two chips for both contact and contactless interfaces. Currently, this hybrid type MyKad is only issued in Malaysian states which employ the Touch 'n Go application.

The MyKad chip has a data retention up to 20 years, while the card itself has a lifespan of 10 years and has been tested according to the ISO 10373 test standard.

Eligibility and adoption

All Malaysian citizens and permanent residents 12 years old or above are eligible for a MyKad. From 2001, it gradually replaced an older Malaysian Identity Card system, that had been in use since 1949 under British colonial rule, with the intention of becoming ubiquitous by 2007. Children are issued with a MyKid after birth. This card is "upgraded" to a MyKad on the 12th birthday. The MyKad must be replaced when a person reaches 18 years old, as it is a requirement that the photograph be 'current'.

Adoption was optional but was spurred by the waiving of the application fee of between RM20 and RM50 until 31 December 2005. As of 27 December 2005, 1,180,208 Malaysians still held an old identity card. After the waiving period ended on 31 December 2005, each new application (first time application) comes with a fee of RM10.

Applications on MyKad

The MyKad project was developed was originally intended to have four functions:

Identity card, including fingerprints and photo
Driving licence
Travel document in Malaysia and several neighbouring countries. However, a conventional passport is still required for international travel: the card is aimed at reducing congestion at the border by enabling the use of unmanned gates using biometric (fingerprint) identification.
Storage of health information

Current applications

Four further applications were added before or during its initial release,

e-cash, an 'electronic wallet' system intended for low value but high volume transactions (the maximum limit is US$ 500) ATM integration.

Touch 'n Go, Malaysia's toll road tolling system and also public transport payment system.

Digital certificate, commonly known as Public Key Infrastructure (PKI), only supported by the 64Kb version (implemented by the end of 2002)

At this time, most of the functions are still not widely used because they are not widely promoted.

Future / proposed applications

The extensible design of the card may be leading to functionality creep.[citation needed] Further applications envisaged by the government include:

Frequent travellers' card
a merge with the Payment Multi-Purpose Card ('PMPC'), giving the MyKad credit and debit card functions that will pave the way for other financial uses.

Personal identification

MyKad must be carried at all times. Failure to do so may incur a fine of between RM3,000 and RM20,000 or jail term of up to three years.

No unauthorised persons, including security guards, are allowed to retain the MyKads (identity cards) of other people. Only those authorised by the National Registration Department, like the police and immigration officers, can do so.

For Muslim citizens, "Islam" is printed on the card below the picture of the holder. This is to help the enforcement of Syariah law which is applicable only to Muslims.

As the states of Sabah and Sarawak maintain separate immigration controls, citizens who has permanent residency in the states of Sabah and Sarawak are denoted by the letters "H" and "K" respectively on the bottom right corner of their card.





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