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About Electronic Signature

Last Update: 28 / 04 / 2021

1. What is electronic signature?

“Electronic signature” is defined in the Malaysia Electronic Commerce Act 2006 (“ECA 2006”) as any letter, character, number, sound or any other symbol or any combination thereof created in an electronic form adopted by a person as a signature.

2. Are electronic signatures legally binding?

An electronic signature shall be legal, valid and enforceable notwithstanding that it is wholly or partly in an electronic form. The ECA 2006 provides that any information shall not be denied legal effect, validity or enforceability on the ground that it is wholly or partly in an electronic form.

3. What’s the difference between electronic signature and digital signature in Malaysia?

Electronic signature is technologically neutral, comprising any letter, character, number, sound or any other symbol or any combination thereof in electronic form. Meanwhile, the digital signature is technologically specific. It is more narrowly defined as compared to the electronic signature, utilising an asymmetric cryptosystem and a valid certificate issued by a licensed certification authority in Malaysia.

4. Are there any specific documents not to be signed using electronic or digital signatures?

Generally, the following documents are advised not to be signed using electronic or digital signatures:
  • documents that are required to be notarised or attested before the Commissioner for Oath or the Notary Public in view that such documents require the signer to be physically present before the Commissioner for Oath or the Notary Public; and
  • documents which are required to be presented to the relevant governmental agency and authorities for registration such as the property transfer forms in view that the Malaysian authorities are not inclined to accept documents with electronic signature or digital signature in practice.
The ECA 2006 further categorises the transactions or documents which ECA 2006 will not apply. These transactions and documents are as follows:
  • Power of attorney,
  • The creation of wills and codicils,
  • The creation of trusts, and
  • Negotiable instruments

If doubtful, the user shall obtain independent legal advice with respect to the advisability of the services.

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