(Seated, from left to third right) Ong, Mohd Khairil, Chong, Lim, Teo, Hassan (seated, right), (standing, from second left to fifth left) Chiew, Yong, Ling, and Wong at a press meet.

KUCHING: In the first three days of implementing the e-Tunai Rakyat initiative, 800,000 of the one million applications received were approved with a total of RM24 million spent thus far via the three e-wallet operators.

“We want to encourage digital payments, which is why we introduced the RM30 free shopping money for digital payment subscribers,” said Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng, adding that the three e-wallet operators are Touch ‘n Go, Boost and GrabPay.

“Before this exercise, we had around eight million users on all three e-wallets or on digital payment. We want to double that to 15 or 16 million,” he said.

He added that this meant that almost every Malaysian above 18 would be on digital payment.

He said this during his visit to The Spring Shopping Mall on Friday in conjunction with the launch of the e-Tunai Rakyat initiative.

Lim urged more merchants to get on board with digital payment and going online: “It does not matter if you are a hawker or a big business ― go online. This is a necessity nowadays.”

(Seated, from left to third right) Ong, Mohd Khairil, Chong, Lim, Teo, Hassan (seated, right), (standing, from second left to fifth left) Chiew, Yong, Ling, and Wong at a press meet.

According to him, the government was encouraging digital payment hoping that Malaysia will become a cashless society for efficiency and transparency.

“In a cashless society, it is very hard to have corruption undetected,” he said.

He said that this movement towards a cashless society would be done progressively as many in rural regions were unfamiliar with the system.

He said the e-Tunai Rakyat initiative would run from Jan 15 to March 14, while registration would end on March 9.

It allows eligible Malaysians to claim RM30 via the three aforementioned e-wallet platforms, with each platform also having additional incentives, prizes, and offers up for grabs for users.

For example, Lim said Touch ‘n Go would top up the RM30 with an additional RM30.

The federal government had allocated RM450 million for the programme, which would benefit 15 million people who are above 18 years and with an annual income of less than RM100,000.

Meanwhile, he said that in line with the country’s digitalisation efforts, RM21.6 billion had been approved for the National Fiberisation and Connectivity Plan (NFCP), which would provide digital connectivity throughout the nation, including in rural areas.

He said this was estimated to be completed by 2023 or 2024, and the plan was under the Communications and Multimedia Ministry.

Also present were Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Deputy Minister Chong Chieng Jen, Deputy Education Minister Teo Nie Ching, Senator Alan Ling, Pending assemblywoman Violet Yong, Tanjong Batu assemblyman Chiew Chiu Sing, Padungan assemblyman Wong King Wei, Boost chief executive officer (CEO) Mohd Khairil Abdullah, TNG Digital Sdn Bhd CEO Ignatius Ong, and Grab Malaysia Country Marketing Head Hassan Alsagoff.