Mobile banking services in bulletproof vehicles for rural Sarawakians

Abang Johari (first right) addressing the press as Masing (second right) looked on. Photo courtesy of Information Department of Sarawak.

By Ling Hui

KUCHING, May 6: Sarawak’s newly launched mobile banks to provide to the interiors of Sarawak are equipped to provide all banking services available in retail banks, all in one moving vehicle that is bulletproof.

Bank Kerjasama Rakyat Malaysia (Bank Rakyat) acting chief executive officer (CEO) Dato Syed Abdul Aziz Syed Hassan said all types of transactions, applications and payment services are provided in every mobile bank costing approximately RM500,000 to outfit.

“The services offered in the Bank Rakyat mobile bank are all the services available in Bank Rakyat branches all over Kuching.

“For example, opening of savings accounts, Term Deposit-i accounts, pawning services, al-Rahnu, cash transaction services, card credit application, Takaful application, bill payment and so on will all be brought to the villagers.

“The total cost for one vehicle is RM500,000, so Bank Rakyat is very much grateful to the Sarawak government for providing RM200,000,” he said during a press conference after a ceremony to to launch the mobile banks at the former State Legislative Assembly (DUN) complex compound, Petra Jaya here today.

Abang Johari (centre) making a cash withdrawal from an ATM in RHB’s mobile bank. Photo courtesy of Information Department of Sarawak.

Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg who was there to officiate at the ceremony said the Sarawak government’s funding of RM200,000 served to kickstart this project which local banks accepted and worked on under their own efforts.

Expressing thanks to the four banking groups namely Agrobank, Bank Simpanan Nasional (BSN), Bank Rakyat and RHB Bank which are currently the only institutions providing these mobile banking services in Sarawak, Abang Johari noted this is a new approach and innovative concept in retail banking.

“For retail banks, normally they set up their stationary branches and their services are actually not needed by the people every day. At most, two times a week maybe.

“So, this is a new approach. Then, they can cover a lot of places only with one vehicle. If we follow the conventional way, let’s say Sebauh, Tatau, Sg Assap and Belaga each having an office, they will need four managers and these are extra costs,” he explained.

Noting that a city like Kuching is an exception, Abang Johari said in rural areas where the population is smaller, banking services are not required every single day.

The areas identified under Phase One to receive mobile banking coverage are Sebauh, Sg Assap, Tatau, Belaga, Padawan, Bau, Lundu, Sematan, Lingga, Pantu, Tebedu, Asajaya, Sebuyau, Sadong Jaya, Balingian, Oya and Igan.

The visit schedule of these mobile banks will be announced to the public by each bank in due time.

Also present at the ceremony were Deputy Chief Minister Tan Sri Dr James Jemut Masing, Entrepreneur Development and Co-operatives Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar, State secretary Datuk Amar Jaul Samion, Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) Kuching chief Mohd Irman Mohd Din and Deputy State secretary Dato Sri Mohamad Abu Bakar Marzuki. — DayakDaily