Mobile banking services provide much-needed facility to rural folk, lauds Baru

Baru Bian (file pic)

KUCHING, May 19: Selangau MP Baru Bian is supportive of the Sarawak government’s move to implement mobile banking services in rural areas.

“I agree with Suhakam Commissioner Madeline Berma in supporting the state government’s move in implementing mobile banking services in the rural areas and calling for increased access to banking services for the rural population.

“This normal thing called banking, which we take for granted, is something so out of reach for a huge majority of the people in the rural areas,” said Baru in a statement today.

Citing his memory of BRIM distribution, he said the rural folks paid high transportation fares to get to the nearest towns and “queued up for hours in the hot sun to collect their few hundred ringgit”.

Baru said he foresaw the significance of mobile banking in the near future where “Banks on Wheels” have already been in use in many other countries to service the rural folk.

However, he believed that it was equally crucial to look at other ways to improve access to banking services such as providing internet services to all rural areas and encouraging people to learn and utilise internet banking.

“This ties in with my vision of modernising our agricultural sector and promoting organic farming – online transactions will provide a convenient way for the farmers to conduct their businesses.

“For our rural communities to modernise and prosper, two forms of connectivity – physical infrastructure and internet access – are equally essential. Farmers will be able to sell their produce online and good roads will enable delivery to be carried out smoothly and speedily,” said Baru who is also Ba Kelalan assemblyman.

He believed that the past two months of lockdown and movement restrictions have shown that people can work and conduct their business from home.

“For many business owners and employees, this has come as a pleasant revelation. Business owners can save on rental of office buildings and employees can save on rentals in the towns and cities.

“If this trend extends to Sarawak, it would mean that with good internet access, the tech-savvy younger generation will not need to leave their villages.

“Younger families will be able to work remotely, saving on expenses and at the same time, preserving inter-generational living and their cultures and traditions.

“It is a way of reversing the current practice of youths leaving their parents and grandparents to seek employment in towns and cities.

“This may sound far-fetched to some, but it is definitely possible, with the right facilities in place. My vision of hope for Sarawak envisages such a future for Sarawak and Sarawakians,” said Baru.—DayakDaily