RM10m of e-Tunai Rakyat distributions spent

The free RM30 from the govt can be redeemed via 3 e-wallet services namely GrabPay, Boost and Touch ‘n Go eWallet

by NUR HAZIQAH A MALEK & HARIZAH KAMEL/ pic by RAZAK GHAZALI

SOME RM10 million of the e-Tunai Rakyat allocation has been spent by eWallet users nationwide since the programme launched on Wednesday.

During the Budget 2020 presentation on Oct 11 last year, Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng (picture; left) announced that RM450 million had been allocated for the initiative.

Lim said he received reports that the response to this Budget 2020 initiative was very well received by Malaysians.

“As of 10pm yesterday (Wednesday), about 380,000 applications for e-Tunai Rakyat were received and approximately 320,000 were approved and of these approvals, approximately RM10 million has been spent.

“This number is expected to rise, especially when the eWallet system gains more stability,” he said during a media briefing in Selangor yesterday.

He added that, however, there were a few complaints that accompanied the process of redeeming the RM30.

“I want to remind eWallet operators to enhance their eWallets’ capabilities as soon as possible to enable e-Tunai Rakyat recipients to redeem and spend their free money conveniently and comfortably.

“Capacity building is important not just to enable the e-Tunai Rakyat programme, but also to ensure that the nation’s digital economy is capable of growing sustainably,” he said.

Lim said there are many important factors to consider in attempts to increase the customer base of eWallets such as user experience.

“Without a good experience, many will continue using their cash to spend during their daily activities,” he said.

During his visit to the SS2 morning market yesterday, he saw some quick and convenient transactions at a few of the stalls.

“This proves that digital payment is not limited to large restaurants, but can also be used at small stalls,” he said.

The e-Tunai Rakyat programme is expected to benefit up to 15 million users aged 18 and above with an annual salary of less than RM100,000.

The free RM30 from the government can be redeemed via three eWallet services namely GrabPay, Boost and Touch ‘n Go e-wallet, with each of the platforms offering different perks and deals.

Based on the Department of Statistics Malaysia, 18.5% of the local GDP is contributed by the digital economy, and the e-Tunai Rakyat programme is part of the government’s efforts to boost the digitisation of the local economy.

Meanwhile, Boost registered new users 25 times above its daily average, said its CEO Mohd Khairil Abdullah, adding that Boost users did not face any technical issues with the app during the registration process.

“We have auto-scaling, so our infrastructure is set up in such a way that if you hit a certain threshold, the infrastructure expands.

“This is because we have alerted our partners about the government’s programme and had the system ready. We have been planning this for six months,” Mohd Khairil said at a Boost event in Kuala Lumpur yesterday.

When asked about users’ concern about their personal data, he said no information will be outsourced to any parties as some have claimed on social media platforms.

“We are subject to the Personal Data Protection Act 2010, where it states that there is no sharing of personal information to any third party without the consent of the user. We are also regulated by Bank Negara Malaysia, which also has its privacy regulation. So, we have to adhere to that,” he said.

Currently, Boost has 135,000 merchants on its platform and is planning to double or even triple the figure to 300,000.

Around two-thirds of its merchants are in Tier-3 and Tier-4 categories, also known as merchants who up until now only use cash for payment.

“Tier 1 and Tier 2 are like KFC and Chicken Rice Shop, while Tier 3 and Tier 4 are like those who sell street food at stalls or hawker centres. They are the ones that we need to bring onto our platform because they still haven’t caught on the digital wave,” said Mohd Khairil.

He added that the government’s e-Tunai Rakyat incentive is working as more Tier-3 and Tier-4 merchants are accepting eWallet in their business.

“As a homegrown eWallet company, we have to help them digitise. Since the introduction of the e-Tunai Rakyat plan, more and more of those merchants are now applying to become our merchant partner,” he added.