Sungai Asap residents want permanent mobile bank services

Umie Liau at Sg Asap sub-district office. (file photo)

SIBU, Dec 18: Residents of Bakun Resettlement Scheme in Sungai Asap want the proposed mobile bank services for rural areas in the state be made into a permanent one.

Finance Minister Tengku Datuk Seri Zafrul Tengku Abdul Aziz said on Dec 16 that Bank Negara Malaysia had established cooperation with the Sarawak government and several financial institutions, namely Agrobank, Bank Rakyat, Bank Simpanan Nasional and RHB Bank to launch the mobile bank services at the end of January next year in rural areas of the state.

The service, he said is equipped with automated teller machines (ATM).

A resident of Uma Baha longhouse, Umie Liau said a permanent bank service is much better than a mobile one as the former is on a temporary basis only.

“They can provide mobile bank service while looking for a site for a permanent one at most longhouses. If it is not feasible then choose a strategic longhouse for the service where residents from other longhouses can come to enjoy the service,” she said.

Umie, who is also the chairperson of Kenyah Uma Baha Women’s Association Sibu, said previously there was a plan to set up a permanent banking service in her area. However until now, nothing has come out of it.

“As for the mobile bank service, we hope there will be a wide range of services like transfer of money and paying of bills and not just enable us to withdraw money,” she said.

Umie said presently the residents of 15 longhouses in her area, need to spend between two to three hours of travelling to Belaga for banking services.

She further said that the government should also collaborate with businesses to set up their mobile supermarket in Sungai Asap area.

“There is no point being able to withdraw money from the proposed mobile bank service when they have to go to Belaga to buy daily necessities.

“A two-way trip to Belaga costs RM30 in transportation cost. If we withdraw RM100 from the ATM machine, we will be left with RM70. We cannot buy much things with RM70 as most goods are expensive here,” she said. — DayakDaily