KUALA LUMPUR: More than a billion ringgit will be spent to replace the archaic Malaysian Immigration System (MyIMMs) which has become increasingly prone to hacking, says Home Minister Datuk Seri Hamzah Zainudin.
His announcement came just days after a syndicate involved in hacking the MyIMMS was crippled by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) and Immigration Department.
"The new National Integrated Immigration System (NIISe) will cost over a billion to develop and will replace MyIMMs which is over 20 years old," he told reporters after launching the ceremony to mark the start of development on NIISe here on Thursday (April 8).
He said the current system has been in use for such a long time that it has become prone to manipulation by outsiders.
"Even if we upgrade the present system, it would have been in use by numerous officers for so long that their passwords might have become known to those looking for loopholes in the system," he said.
He cited the syndicate as an example where hackers managed to manipulate the department's IT system.
Hamzah said NIISe would be fully developed by 2024.
"The company developing the new system will work with the Immigration Department to prioritise the areas which need to be developed first," he added.
He also said the authorities are now better equipped with the knowledge to deal with hacking attempts against MyIMMs.
Hamzah noted the new system would have better security features and be monitored by a centralised National Immigration Command Centre.
He added that NIISe would provide the department with real-time data, capable of performing facial and biometric recognition, and conducting advance passenger screening.
On Tuesday (April 6), five suspects, including a Datuk, were arrested in a nationwide joint operation by the MACC and Immigration.
The five men, aged 33 to 44, belonged to a syndicate that hacked and manipulated MyIMMs to produce more than 21,378 forged temporary foreign worker passes over the past few years.
MACC also seized property and cash totalling RM25.5mil.
A total of 147 bank accounts of 30 individuals and 11 companies were also frozen by the MACC.
Among the items seized were three homes, 66 vehicles including 12 luxury cars, and 34 luxury watches.