KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia is well on its way to become a digital and cashless society given that some 91 per cent of Malaysians already have access to online banking.
Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng said that though the usage of cash is still relatively high in Malaysia, the country is still on track to achieve Bank Negara Malaysia's vision of building a cashless society.
“Bank Negara data indicate there were RM106 billion worth of cash circulating in the economy in 2018, or about 7.4 per cent of the gross deposit product (GDP),” he said.
“This is lower than the 7.7 per cent and the 7.9 per cent recorded in 2017 and the 2016 respectively. The drop coincided with wider application of mobile and online payments in Malaysia.”
He explained that a largely cashless economy would have around two per cent of cash in circulation or lower, based on International Monetary Fund (IMF) calculations.
However, the migration towards cashless has been enabled by Malaysia’s high penetration rate of financial services and widespread availability of internet access.
“According to Bank Negara, about 92 per cent of Malaysians have access to bank accounts, with 91 per cent having access to online banking,” he said at the launch of WeChat Pay.
“Local vendors are already at ease with e-wallets because the benefits are clear and I have been informed that there are over 3,500 merchants in Malaysia.”
Separately, Lim also addressed a current issue being widely circulated online that the RM60 note is being replaced with RM50.
“The Malaysia's RM60 commemorative notes were released in 2017 by Bank Negara to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the formation of the Federation of Malaya in 1948,” he said.
“There were rumours stating that these commemorative RM60 notes would replace the existing RM50 bills. Let me assure the public that the rumour is completely false. Your RM50 bills will continue to be
valid and so, please use it with confidence,” he added.