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THE Finance Ministry (MoF) and Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) are encouraging the public to use digital financial services like online banking and e-wallets to facilitate transactions safely anytime and anywhere.
Deputy Finance Minister II Yamani Hafez Musa said this is because the installation of automated teller machines (ATM) at both developed and rural areas is subject to the banking industry’s consideration.
In a response to a question from Sibuti MP Lukanisman Awang Sauni on the installation of ATMs in rural areas, Yamani Hafez said the banking industry considers various factors including the machine’s maintenance cost and usage as justifications for the installation at a certain locality.
“To increase the financial inclusion and improve access to financial services, various channels and strategies have been utilised to ensure the public can easily access basic banking services.
“MoF and BNM encourage the public to use financial services driven by technology such as online banking and e-wallets where transactions can be done efficiently.
“However, the MoF is aware of the need to provide cash transaction services especially in areas that do not have sufficient or stable Internet infrastructure,” he said in the Dewan Rakyat yesterday.
He said the fee for cash withdrawal had also been temporarily abolished since April 2020 to enable users to withdraw cash from any ATM.
Besides ATMs, other channels provided by banking institutions include banking agents and mobile banks to facilitate financial services, said the deputy minister.
Banks that have agents are committed to widen their services gradually and improve their current offerings.
He said among the basic banking services provided by agents include cash withdrawal, fund transfers, digital payment services and bill payments.
“MoF and BNM are also working to expand the mobile banks initiative in collaboration with banking institutions, as announced under the Pemulih initiative on June 28 which is expected to start operating in the fourth quarter of this year.
“The government had allocated RM18 million for domestic financial institutions for the preparation of 30 units of mobile banks in about 250 localities nationwide which have been identified with little to no access to basic banking services,” he said.
He added that the financial institution is also observing the utilisation of banking services by locals at banking agents as a justification for the addition of facilities like ATMs or the opening of a branch.
Yamani Hafez said the usage of online transactions and transfers have picked up since the pandemic began in the country last year.
“BNM and the financial institution had improved communication efforts to encourage the usage of e-payments as a safer and easier method to make payments,” he added.