Banks urged to extend ATM facilities to smaller towns in Sarawak.

Datuk Snowdan Lawan

KUCHING, April 26: Parti Rakyat Sarawak (PRS) Youth chief Datuk Snowdan Lawan calls on banking institutions to set up automated teller machines (ATMs) in smaller towns in Sarawak.

He noted mobile banking has become more relevant to serve the needs of the people in the rural areas and small towns in this era of the digital economy.

“The usage of ATMs is now widespread replacing the conventional passbook, thumbprint cash out and queue in the bank.

“So, it serves the purpose that banks spread their network to the rural area to provide convenience for the rural community to withdraw and deposit money as well as for fund transfers,” he pointed out in a statement.

Snowdan was echoing the comments by Deputy Chief Minister Tan Sri James Masing as reported in a local tabloid recently urging the federal government through the Ministry of Finance (MOF) to provide such facilities to rural residents.

Snowdan also opined that banking institutions should think outside of the box to help solve the problem of cash withdrawal faced by the rural community.

He believed the provision of ATMs in rural areas will ease the challenges of travelling long distances to withdraw money and reduce long queues in bigger towns during the Movement Control Order (MCO) period, festive seasons or even pay day during month end.

This is because in most instances, rural residents or customers in rural areas need to travel to bigger towns to perform banking transactions as the ATM machines are only located there.

He also opined that petrol kiosks situated in smaller towns which have existing merchant lines and online transaction infrastructure should invite banks to set up ATM facilities on site and that services such as the Electronic Fund Transfer at Point of Sales (EFTPOS) employed in Australia and New Zealand could be introduced.

Snowdan who is also Assistant Minister of Youth and Sports noted that the EFTPOS system allows customers to pay for purchases and at the same time cash out certain amounts from the retail shop using their debit card, all in one bill, which will be deducted directly from their debit card account instantly.

He asserted that it is a convenient way for customers to pay and will offer cost savings for banks who will not need to set up ATMs. — DayakDaily