CM mulls digital banking if state can obtain licence

KUCHING: Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg has expressed interest in setting up digital banking in Sarawak.

However, he said a licence has to be obtained first.

“We already have our own e-wallet and digital retailing, so we see lah,” he said when met by reporters after officiating at the opening ceremony of KCGC Innovation Hub at Wisma Chinese Chambers, Bukit Mata Road here, yesterday.

“If possible, we also hope that the federal government can consider giving us the licence,” he added.

He explained that digital banking is just like any banking business, but instead of manual operations and transactions, the bank is run digitally.

GIANT STEP… (fourth right) Abang Johari signs on the Kuching Chinese General Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCGC) Innovation Hub plague as part of the launch gimmick of the opening of the platform for young entrepreneurs to build up their skills and networking. Looking on from left are MBKS mayor Datuk Wee Hong Seng; Transport Minister Datuk Lee Kim Shin; organising chairman of the event and digital economy committee chairman Rodger Chan Siong Boh; Kuching Chinese General Chamber of Commerce and Industry chairman Datuk Tan Jit Kee (partly seen); Local Government and Housing Minister Datuk Seri Dr Sim Kui Hian; and Tourism Arts and Culture Assistant Minister Datuk Sebastian Ting. Photo: Mohd Alif Noni

Earlier, in his speech during the opening ceremony, he noted that Bank Negara Malaysia was issuing licences for digital banking.

“We will see how we can do (it),” he said.

As Sarawak has a small population of approximately 2.8 million people, the chief minister encouraged entrepreneurs to expand their market to the nation’s neighbours.

“Even at the Asean region, that would already be about 600 million people,” he said.

Meanwhile, he said Sarawak Pay was now working with China-owned UnionPay, an e-wallet with global reach.

Abang Johari said the next step was to train young entrepreneurs on how to handle digital devices and services. 

He congratulated the Kuching Chinese General Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCGCCI) on the establishment of the KCGC Innovation Hub which would benefit young entrepreneurs.

KCGCCI digital economy committee chairman Rodger Chan in his speech suggested for Sarawak to consider setting up a digital bank in tandem with its digital economy.