• Free Malaysia Today

Is politics at play in award of digital banking licences?

By Tsubasa Nair, Free Malaysia Today (22 April 2022) PETALING JAYA: Subang MP Wong Chen has warned of a deterioration of market confidence if Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) continues to delay announcing the winners of its digital bank licence awards. He said this was because it would cause an increase in speculation about the play of political interference.

“The most important thing for Bank Negara to do is to transparently release all important information on the winners,” he told FMT.

“The licences can then be publicly scrutinised. If need be, Bank Negara can be compelled to justify and account for them.”

Last July, the central bank said it would announce its decision on the award of five digital bank licences in the first quarter of 2022 after it received 29 applications. However, on March 30, Bank Negara governor Nor Shamsiah Mohd Yunus said the announcement would be delayed pending completion of a legal process.

Danny Chong, the founder of digital payment solutions provider GKash, told FMT that Malaysia’s fintech scene was eagerly awaiting the announcement as digital banks would be a boost to the industry.

“At the moment, the fintech sector is fully dependent on traditional banks, and this often results in bottlenecks as they have a lot of red tape,” he said.


He said digital banks could easily eclipse traditional banks in efficiency as they would not be limited by constraints associated with the latter.