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Wednesday, 15 January 2020

(The Star) Towards a cashless society with e-Tunai Rakyat

KUALA LUMPUR: The government is gearing up for the country’s evolution towards a cashless society with the rollout of the e-Tunai Rakyat initiative today, which will provide the impetus for the public’s adoption of e-wallet.

Mobile and digital technologies are fast reshaping how consumers purchase globally, and despite Malaysia having a young - and mainly tech-savvy - workforce comprising more than 70% of population, consumers here have yet to fully embrace the digital culture.

Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng said the government’s initiative to distribute a one-off RM30 e-credit to eligible Malaysian e-wallet users is one of its efforts to encourage digital payment adoption.

The e-Tunai Rakyat programme, he said, is in line with the government’s Shared Prosperity Vision 2030 (SPV2030) agenda, which aims to lower barriers to access digital technology and to make the digitalisation process inclusive for all.

Malaysians aged 18 years and above who earn less than RM100,000 annually are eligible to receive RM30 each through any of the participating e-wallets.

To ensure that the initiative will hasten Malaysia’s digitalisation process, the RM30 must be spent between Jan 15 and March 14,2020, and any unspent portion will expire after that period.

Lim said if the allocation of RM450 mil for the initiative is fully claimed and successfully boosted spending, the Finance Ministry (MoF) will consider increasing the amount to involve more users, merchants and e-wallet providers. The RM450mil allocation is part of the RM50.3bil earmarked to transform Malaysia into an entrepreneurial nation, which includes the transition to a digital economy.

Of the RM50.3bil, RM28.7bil is allocated for various digitalisation incentives such as the e-Tunai Rakyat as well as guarantees and financing aids, including for entrepreneurs, small and medium businesses, and Malaysian companies. According to the Statistics Department, the digital economy is expected to contribute more than 21% to the gross domestic product in 2022 compared to 18.5% in 2018.

Universiti Tun Abdul Razak economist, Prof Emeritus Dr Barjoyai Bardai said when consumers begin the switch to digital banking through digital money, conducting a business will become more efficient and effective.

“When consumers get used to using the digital currency, they will be more willing and encouraged to undertake business dealings.

“So, business dealings can get bigger and have a positive impact on the economy and also business volume.The people’s quality of life will also improve when more people undertake online transactions, which save time. This means consumers need not go to the bank for formal business matters, ” he said. The e-Tunai Rakyat initiative aims to accelerate the use and adoption of e-wallet and digital payments among Malaysian consumers and merchants, especially small enterprises and retail businesses. — Bernama