Finance minister assures public eWallet push not meant to ferret out private data

Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng speaks during a press conference in Putrajaya January 17, 2020. — Picture by Choo Choy May
Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng speaks during a press conference in Putrajaya January 17, 2020. — Picture by Choo Choy May

PUTRAJAYA, Jan 17 — Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng has dismissed the notion that registering with the E-Tunai Rakyat cashless payment initiative would reveal Malaysians’ personal information to the authorities.

The minister pointed out that such information was already available to the government via Malaysians’ records with the National Registration Department.

“I do not see how this would be the case. At the most, data from E-Tunai users will reveal their consumption patterns,” Lim said during the ceremony for the signing of a supplemental agreement between MRT Corp and MMC Gamuda on the MRT2 line project at the Finance Ministry complex.

The minister was also asked if the selection of three vendors by E-Tunai’s facilitator and government sovereign wealth fund Khazanah Nasional Berhad to support the initiative would eventually result in an oligopoly of sorts.

“I think Khazanah should be able to answer that in detail later on. But what we want to ensure is for digital payment’s existing base of users to be enlarged.

“In order for this to succeed, there must be a sufficient number of merchants and subscribers. On our part, the ministry only makes policy announcements and leaves it to Khazanah to implement the details,” he said.

Lim added that ultimately, the government aim was to encourage Malaysians towards cashless payments.

The government is spending RM450 million to provide RM30 in eWallet funds to all Malaysians earning below RM100,000 annually.

Redemption began on Wednesday but the terms and conditions for registration with the three e-wallet providers caused suspicions that Malaysians’ personal information could be used for purposes beyond the e-wallet incentive.

Presently over 784,000 people have registered for E-Tunai, with over 672,000 applications approved, and RM18.8 million spent.

Related Articles