Malaysians have lost some two million MyKad, the smart identification card, since 2001, triggering a loss of 75 million ringgit (20.27 million U.S. dollars)for the government, local media reported Monday.
The government has to shoulder the cost of producing each card at 38 ringgit (10.27 U.S. dollars) for each person who gets the card for free, Deputy Home Affairs Minister Tan Chai Ho was quoted by The Star as saying.
To compel citizens to take better care of the MyKads, the Home Affairs Ministry will propose higher fines for those who lose their cards and will also consider "penalizing" repeated offender, who have lost their cards three times or even more, said Tan.
"We will not give them a new MyKad for three to six months, just to teach them a lesson and also to properly investigate why they lose it so many times," said the deputy minister on Sunday.
At present, Malaysian only have to wait seven to 14 days before getting a new ID card.
Tan expressed his concern that certain quarters would get their hands on the lost MyKads, alter them and pass them off as their own for illegal activities.
"This is why Malaysians must keep their MyKad properly. It is a sophisticated and valuable document that will soon be used for traveling to other countries," Tan said.
Brunei has accepted the MyKad as a valid travel document for Malaysians who visit this neighbor country frequently.