By Karen Bong
SIBU, Sept 16: Sarawak Pay’s user-friendliness, convenience and cash-back features has made this state-owned cashless and contactless payment system the preferred digital wallet in Sarawak.
Sibu Municipal Council (SMC) chairman Clarence Ting emphasised that the user-friendliness of Sarawak Pay has become a topic of conversation in Sibu coffee shops, particularly the cash-back feature.
“They all talked about the nice cash-back. They even go to the extent of promoting (Sarawak Pay) among their friends. The word I hear most associated with Sarawak Pay is ‘convenient’,” he revealed.
Ting highlighted this at the launch of cashless Sibu Central Market via Sarawak Pay and free WiFi service by Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg at the market premises here today.
Since the Movement Control Order (MCO) began, he observed that many business establishments in Sibu were now equipped with Sarawak Pay as more and more people now preferred going cashless.
Ting had admitted to not having any idea about the digital economy when Abang Johari first mentioned it.
“But if Sarawak Pay is an indication of what the digital economy can do for our society, I hope the state government will bring on more aspects of this digital economy with speed to push Sarawak forward in this ever changing world,” he added.
He noted that Abang Johari has been promoting the digital economy in Sarawak since he took the helm as Chief Minister, and one of the most important aspects emphasised was the move towards a cashless society.
Ting pointed out that Sarawak Pay was a bright point in tough times as the initial response towards using digital wallets including Sarawak Pay was very poor until the MCO where people were living under restrictions and living a new norm.
“Not long after I took over as SMC chairman, I was approached for a collaboration to get traders and hawkers in the SMC market to register for Sarawak Pay for which I gave my full support.
“I then requested our Market and Petty Traders Committee and staff to get the traders to register. I must tell you that the initial response was only 30 plus registrations,” he said.
Thanks to the support of the state government and Bantuan Khas Sarawakku Sayang (BKSS)’s initiatives to help people through this challenging time, registrations for Sarawak Pay have grown by leaps and bounds, Ting noted.
“So much so that the local agent when they conducted registration here at the Sibu Central Market, there were so many people queuing up that the police had to come and control the crowd. The news went viral on social media and news outlets.
“So SMC had to request for free WiFi service for the whole central market and I’m happy to report that Sains (Sarawak Information Systems Sdn Bhd) responded with speed to provide free Internet service throughout this market,” he said, expressing gratitude and thanks.
As such, Ting highlighted that Sibu Central Market is a very fitting venue for today’s event as it is the largest wet market in Malaysia with a total of 1,170 traders, featuring 924 traders on the ground floor and 243 on the first floor.
“Our daily visitors are 2,500 on the weekdays and more than 4,000 during weekends. In this building as well, we have UTC Sibu on Level 4 and 5. All the counters have Sarawak Pay and we get on average an additional 1,000 visitors here,” he added.
Meanwhile, Sibu Central Market is the first market in Sarawak to be digitally-enabled and equipped with e-wallet services. This effort was initiated by SMC, and supported by Sarawak Multimedia Authority (SMA).
More than 800 hawkers and petty traders at the market have registered as Sarawak Pay merchants. It is estimated that there will be more than 600,000 micro payment transactions via Sarawak Pay on a daily basis in Sibu Central Market within the next six months.
Minister for Local Government and Housing Datuk Seri Dr Sim Kui Hian and his assistant Dr Annuar Rapee, State Secretary Datuk Amar Jaul Samion and SMA general manager Dr Zaidi Razak were among those present at the launch today. — DayakDaily