KIA first airport to go ‘truly cashless’ in Malaysia

Abang Johari (third left) tries out the new cashless system at one of the participating outlets as Deputy Chief Minister Tan Sri James Jemut Masing (second left) and Badlisham (second right) look on.

KUCHING, April 2: To complement the state government’s aspiration for a digital economy and state-owned cashless payment e-wallet system Sarawak Pay, Malaysia Airports Holdings Berhad (MAHB) launches its ‘Cashless in KIA’ initiative through the vcash Malaysia e-wallet system for the convenience of visitors using the Kuching International Airport (KIA).

Launched this morning by Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg, the system sees the participation of 29 retailers at KIA out of 37, with the hope that it would provide purchasing convenience particularly to international travellers so they would not have to convert their currencies.

MAHB managing director Datuk Badlisham Ghazali said KIA is taking the lead among all airports in the country as the first truly cashless airport offering multiple digital payment options, a move that supports the company-wide digitalisation efforts in its bid to transform itself into a service leader and thus enabling a more passenger-friendly journey.

Abang Johari (centre) together with MAHB chairman Dato’ Seri Syed Anwar Jamalullail (fourth left) and Deputy Chief Minister Tan Sri James Jemut Masing (fourth right) cutting the ribbon to officially open the KIA departure hall’s new Food Court which utilises the new cashless system.​

He added that the unveiling of Sarawak’s Digital Economy Strategy Book 2018-2022 which was aimed at propelling the state into the digital economy was in tandem with the type of improvements that MAHB wished to implement at all airports under its management.

“The strategic decision made by the Sarawak government made the KIA an easy choice for us to launch this Cashless Airport initiative. We are also collaborating with China’s Alipay to provide cashless convenience to our passengers from China at all our international airports.

“We wish to embrace the concept of a cashless airport by extending this further through various collaborations with other mobile payment platform providers so as to offer this facility to a larger passenger base,” said Badlisham.

He also revealed that KIA recorded a total of 5.1 million in passenger traffic movement in 2017, a 3.6 per cent growth compared to 2016.

“Retailers at KIA had enjoyed an even higher sales ratio per passenger, a growth of 5.2 per cent which translates to sales of RM8 per passenger.

“Hence, MAHB is confident that apart from Gross Domestic Product (GDP) contribution, this latest digitalisation initiative will also drive the local economy by boosting sales for the local retailers at KIA,” said Badlisham.

Available in Google Play Store for Android and App Store for iOS smartphones, the vcash Malaysia e-wallet and cashless payment system was developed by the venture building arm of Digi Telecommunications Sdn Bhd (Digi).

Abang Johari (second right) scans the QR code to symbolically launch the ‘Cashless in KIA’ initiative as Badlisham (right), Minister in the Chief Minister’s Office (Integrity and Ombudsman) Datuk Talib Zulpilip (left), Tourism, Arts, Culture, Youth and Sports Minister Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah (second left), Deputy Chief Minister Tan Sri James Jemut Masing (fourth left) and MAHB chairman Dato’ Seri Syed Anwar Jamalullail (fifth left) look on.

Meanwhile, Abang Johari thanked MAHB for jumping onto the bandwagon to join the state’s effort in achieving a digital economy.

“I’m glad that MAHB has joined on board with this transformation programme where today we are witnessing the cashless system in KIA.

“Then if you are hungry in the boarding hall you can go to any participating food outlet here and just use your smartphone to pay for your food.

“This is what digital technology is all about, and Sarawak wants to do all that and provide these services to anybody coming into Sarawak; hence why we launched Sarawak Pay also.

“Today we are launching this cashless system in KIA. I’m sure this is the direction for future airport development where multiple e-wallet services will be made available to all passengers for their convenience,” he said. — DayakDaily