KUALA LUMPUR (September 22): The government has allocated Ringgit 18 million to local banks to provide around 30 mobile banking units in the country, including Sabah and Sarawak, which will cover 250 rural areas and sub-districts.
Deputy Finance Minister II Yamani Hafez Musa said the initiative, launched in July in Sarawak and in late September in Sabah, aims to facilitate wider access to banking services.
“Through this initiative, recipients of government cash assistance can access a variety of banking services, including opening accounts; make deposits, withdrawals and money transfers; pay bills; as well as digital banking, ”he said.
He was explaining about the distribution of aid, in particular the Bantuan Prihatin Rakyat (BPR), as the debate on the vote of thanks for the royal address to Parliament closed today.
Yamani said nearly eight million BPR beneficiaries, or 94%, had bank accounts while 6% or nearly 500,000 people used Bank Simpanan Nasional (BSN) for cash assistance.
He said data on nearly 20,000 cash assistance recipients without a bank account had also been uploaded to BSN’s database.
According to him, it’s about facilitating future payments at a convenient time for recipients without having to wait for the cash-out program and mobile banks to arrive at their homes.
“This shows that the government is still committed to ensuring that aid is effective and reaches target groups, especially those affected by Covid-19,” he said.
Yamani said that currently, government cash assistance payments are still mandated exclusively to BSN based on its extensive branch network.
“However, the appointment of other banks as agents for the distribution of cash payments can be considered as needed,” he said.
With 390 branches nationwide, BSN has the largest service network among banking institutions in the country. It has 179 branches in non-urban areas.