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S’wak govt has expressed interest for digital banking license to BNM, says Abang Johari

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File photo for illustration purposes

KUCHING (Nov 13): The Sarawak government has submitted its expression of interest to Bank Negara Malaysia for a digital banking license, said Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg.

“We are fully aware that an effective digital banking must be resilient, fair and dynamic. It is among the prerequisites for the Sarawak government to collaborate with reputable technology companies and local retail banks approved by the governing bodies.

“Accordingly, Sarawak government is in the midst of putting up the necessary telecommunication infrastructure and facilities throughout Sarawak in part to support our digital banking and other digital initiatives,” he said during his winding up speech at the State Legislative Assembly (DUN) afternoon session sitting today.

Abang Johari pointed out that like it or not, the economy today works across powerful networks, changing how people consume, work and communicate.

“The landscape of our way in doing business is indeed changing. Sales are increasingly taking place online and over digital platforms, rather than from physical shops. Intangible capital is now getting more important than physical capital. As we have heard and read, data is the new oil.

“Also, like it or not, we are at a time where anyone can produce anything anywhere through 3D printing, where anyone can broadcast their talent globally via YouTube or buy products from China whenever they want via Ali Baba.Com or other platforms,” he said.

Abang Johari sees the future as belonging to Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) firms that utilise digital platforms.

“In anticipation, my Cabinet colleagues and I in the Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) government are already preparing this new banking infrastructure that new and young generations of Sarawakians will require,” he said.

According to Abang Johari, Sarawak is able to achieve fiscal sustainability as its economy develops because it adopted a multi-pronged approach in its budget exercise.

“We have other sources of revenue on stream, which will ensure a healthy and well-functioning economy.

“The broadening of the state’s present revenue base has strengthened our financial capacity and supported the state in meeting its objective to achieve healthy financial position,” he said.

The state’s alternative financing initiative, with the establishment of its own development bank namely Development Bank of Sarawak (DBoS), has proven to be a sustainable platform to facilitate and expedite the realisation of the state development agenda, he added.

“This innovative financing model will ultimately provide the growth impetus to achieve the status of high income and developed state by the year 2030.

“Sarawak is indeed fortunate to have established our very own DBoS in 2017 to meet the competing demands for our financial resources. Without this innovative model, Sarawak would not be able to develop its physical infrastructure and amenities at the scale we are doing now,” he noted.