Govt moves to tighten NRD security after scandal


  • Nation
  • Monday, 23 Sep 2019

PETALING JAYA: Setting up a DNA data bank and upgrading security levels for National Registration Department (NRD) staff are among the measures to be put in place after it was rocked by the illegal sale of birth certificates and identity cards.

Information from the DNA data bank, which will be included in future birth certificates, was proposed as part of a move to improve the department’s delivery system and standard operating procedures, said Home Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin.

Such a move, he added, was meant to plug leakages following the revelation of a syndicate selling MyKad and birth certificates to foreigners.

“The NRD proposed the setting up of a DNA data bank as a long term solution to prevent leakages. The government through the ministry is taking the sale of MyKad and birth certificates very seriously,” he said yesterday.

A DNA databank is a database of DNA profiles which can be used in the analysis of genetic diseases, genetic fingerprinting for criminology or genealogy.

In Malaysia, law enforcement agencies, especially the police, have used such a DNA database for various purposes, including for forensic investigations.

Besides the data bank, Muhyiddin said other measures to be taken immediately was the cessation of late birth registrations at state NRD offices.

“Such registration can only be carried out at the NRD headquarters for check and balance purposes.

“Birth certificates that have not been claimed will be reviewed before they are disabled via the system database to prevent any abuse,” he said.

“We will also increase spot checks at all NRD branches, including the vendors involved, to ensure that all rules and regulations are adhered to.

“The security levels will also be upgraded in stages so that they cannot be easily accessed by all officers. Instead, it will require verification from high-ranking officers,” he added.

NRD officers, added Muhyiddin, would also be transferred to different posts on a rotational basis to ensure that staff will remain at their stations for not more than two years.

“This is to minimise the chances for abuse of power.

“All the measures that will be taken were decided during a special meeting to improve the NRD delivery system, chaired by ministry secretary-general, Tan Sri Alwi Ibrahim last Wednesday,” he said.

The ministry, said Muhyiddin, will not protect any government officers involved in the sale of MyKad, adding that police had been given full purview to investigate and detain the “nation’s traitors”.

“We will not compromise with any spread of unverified and fake news. Stern legal action will be taken against culprits to act as a deterrent,” he said, adding that this would also remind everyone to be more careful in making such statements.

On Sept 11, police arrested 20 people in Penang, including an NRD officer, on suspicion of being involved in the illegal issuance and sale of birth certificates and identity cards.The following day, six men, including a Penang NRD assistant director, were charged in court on 32 counts related to such a sale to foreign nationals.

On Friday, Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Abdul Hamid Bador said several more Penang NRD personnel would be detained for investigation into the matter.

The NRD director-general Datuk Ruslin Jusoh was also instructed to give his full cooperation with investigators over the case.

On Sept 9, the NRD said it wanted the police to investigate viral news claiming that it had granted MyKad to Chinese nationals recently.

Ruslin said it had lodged a report at the police district headquarters in Putrajaya.


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