We can all probably agree that the major bane of entering housing areas/ condominiums/ apartments as visitors is the inconvenience of being asked to produce our MyKad’s or driving licenses by security. Sometimes, security may even hold onto our MyKad’s or driving licenses in exchange for visitor passes.
This is such a common practice that very few of us stop to question if security guards even have the right to inspect and retain our identification documents in the first place. Instead, we just give them our IDs without giving it much thought.
But… what does the law have to say?
The law cannot be clearer in relation to security guards holding onto MyKad’s and only returning them upon a visitor exiting the premises: security guards do NOT have the right to withhold visitors’ MyKad’s under any circumstances (we’ll talk about driver’s licenses later in the article). It’s a big NO- NO.
The law can be found in the National Registration Regulations 1990 (Amendment 2007). Unfortunately, we can’t link you to the latest version of the Regulations as it is not available online. You will need to have subscription to a legal database to access the latest version. So note that what you see in the linked document may differ from the Regulations discussed in this article.
Regulation 8A makes it an offence for unauthorised personnel to hold onto your MyKad. Anyone found guilty of this offence can potentially face up to 3 years in prison and/or a fine of up to RM 20,000.
Regulation 7 explicitly states that only certain officers are allowed to inspect the identity of a person and request the person to produce his/her MyKad for inspection. These officers include:
- registration officers (of the National Registration Department of Malaysia aka JPN)
- police officers
- customs officers
- members of the Armed Forces on duty
- public officers authorised by the Director General
So this means that only officers in the list above are allowed to detain a person’s MyKad. Even so, they can only do this if they have a reason to suspect that the person’s identity is false.
On 16 November 2018, the Royal Malaysia Police (aka PDRM) issued a Facebook statement confirming that security guards do not have the right to retain your MyKad.
Can security guards record your MyKad details?
Most of us would be familiar with the process where security guards would ask to see our MyKad’s and take down our details in a log book.
As explained above, under Regulation 7 security guards are not even allowed to conduct checks on your identity, let alone request for any kind of identification documents.
However, in the broader interest of security, the Ministry of Home Affairs released a circular back in 2007 authorising security guards to request for visitors’ identification documents for inspection and record purposes.
That being said, they must return the identification documents to you immediately. The ban on withholding MyKad’s remains absolute.
Asking for MyKad for inspection/ to record details = OKAY
Retaining MyKad= NOT okay
What about driving licenses?
We asked the PDRM about driving licenses, but we have not received a response. We will update as soon as we receive a reply.
However, with reference to the circular released by the Ministry of Home Affairs, it seems like your driving license is also considered to be an identification document. Therefore, it may be safe to assume from the circular that just like MyKad’s, security guards are only allowed to ask for your license in order to record your details, but they must return your license immediately after.
What if security insists on holding onto my ID?
If a security guard attempts to withhold your identification documents from you (be it your MyKad, driving license or passport), you should explain to them that they cannot do so under the law. However, it is worthwhile to bear in mind that there really is no point kicking up a fuss as security guards are just carrying out instructions. Whatever the situation, always know that you have a right to refuse to let security hold onto your MyKad, or anyone else for that matter.
If they still insist, you should ask to speak to a person in charge such as the security supervisor/ residents’ committee/ condominium joint management body.
As a last resort, you can always make a police report.