By Nigel Edgar
KUCHING, May 4: Sarawak’s first mobile payment system, Sarawak Pay, will expand to China once Bank Negara and China’s central bank approves it.
Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg revealed that Sarawak Pay signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Shanghai-based mobile payment system Union Pay last month to eventually enable Sarawak Pay users to use the state mobile payment system in China’s Union Pay territories and vice versa in Sarawak.
“Last month, I had an agreement with Union Pay, China. We (Sarawak Pay) signed an MoU with Union Pay and we hope that our Bank Negara and China’s central bank will approve it.
“Once we have the legal position (approved), you can use Sarawak Pay in China, anywhere in China as long as Union Pay is there,” he said during the launching of Sarawak Pay at one of Sarawak’s mini-mart chain outlets, KK Super Mart, in Kota Sentosa, here, today.
Later, when asked by reporters whether Sarawak Pay would expand to other Asian countries, the chief minister said Singapore was the first Asian country to collaborate with Sarawak Pay, right after it was launched in 2017. This followed the signing of an MoU with NETS Singapore — the republic’s electronic payment service.
“We cannot expand on our own, but we can collaborate with the mobile payment systems in other countries. For instance, we have a collaboration with Union Pay in China, but we have to get approval from Bank Negara and China’s central bank first,” he said.
One of the criteria assessed by Bank Negara and, probably, the People’s Bank of China is security, for example, money laundering, Abang Johari said.
“It’s basically business, so I think there is a need to improve financial technology. I think over time it will be okay. But so far, Sarawak Pay is doing quite well, and a lot of businesses are now registered with Sarawak Pay.
“Meaning once registered, like KK Mart, all of KK Mart’s business network can also use Sarawak Pay, including its Kopitiam chains and hotel chains,” he said.
Earlier in his speech, Abang Johari revealed that as of April 28 this year, Sarawak Pay had 68,500 registered users and 2,400 registered merchants.
Since its launch in November 2017 till now, he said Sarawak Pay had recorded 172,429 transactions worth RM14,199,124.51.
Meanwhile, in his speech, Abang Johari also took note of KK Super Mart’s Kasih Ibu Smart Selangor (KISS) Programme and requested the mini-mart chain to do it for Sarawak as well and collaborate with the state government in its upcoming programme, which he would announce in the near future.
Abang Johari said the programme would benefit mothers in Sarawak to alleviate the rising cost of living. Early this year, he had also introduced an initiative for mothers, where newborns in Sarawak are entitled to receive RM1,000 in a trust fund. — DayakDaily