Unclaimed money ballooned to RM8.8b in 2019

Address change, deaths and balance left in inactive bank accounts contributed to the rising amount of unclaimed money

by RAHIMI YUNUS / pic by BLOOMBERG

A TOTAL of RM8.75 billion remained unclaimed at the end of last year, higher than the almost RM7 billion recorded at the end of October 2019 despite efforts by the authorities to return the money to their owners.

The Accountant General’s Department of Malaysia (AGD), which managed the unclaimed money, has returned RM2.13 billion up to December last year.

These accumulated monies include salaries, bonuses, commissions and other payments made to employees; dividends and profits declared for distributions; insurance claims; tender deposits; and sundry creditors or sundry debtors with a credit balance.

The money from matured fixed deposits, dormant savings, current and fixed deposit accounts are also channelled to the AGD by the respective financial institutions.

The AGD is the trustee that oversees the unclaimed money.

“The AGD is urging the public to come forward and claim their money,” the AGD told The Malaysian Reserve in an email yesterday.

Address change, deaths and balance left in inactive bank accounts had contributed to the rising amount of unclaimed money.

Banks are required to transfer the balance in dormant account to the AGD.

Early this year, the AGD launched an online portal called eGUMIS (Electronic Government Unclaimed Moneys Information System) to facilitate the public to check the status of their unclaimed monies.

The AGD has been aggressive in informing the public to claim their money through media announcements, notices in local newspapers, as well as interviews and talk programmes with local radio and television stations.

AGD has organised monthly awareness talks to companies and firms as it seeks to refund the money to the rightful owner.

“We do regular monthly awareness talks on unclaimed monies involving companies and firms at all AGD’s state offices across the country to ensure they comply with the requirements of the Act, maintain a complete unclaimed monies registry and lodge a submission of unclaimed monies to the registrar before or on March 31 every year.”

A claimant can prove that he is the rightful owner of unclaimed monies and the registrar shall authorise payment to be made upon being satisfied that the claimant is the owner of the money.

There is no limit by the registrar and the money can be claimed at any time by the rightful owner.

The unclaimed funds, which have been entrusted to the AGD, are legally payable monies under the law, but it is still not being paid within the specified period of time according to the provisions of the Unclaimed Moneys Act 1965.

The huge amount of unclaimed money works against the economy as the amount can be used to spur economic activities.

Banks are also assisting the authorities to inform their customers to activate their accounts, including dormant fixed deposits, to prevent the money from being channelled to the AGD.