Sarawak Premier says will not appeal with Finance Ministry after digital bank licence application rejected

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Sarawak Premier Tan Sri Abang Johari Openg (right) attends Sarawak Governor Tun Abdul Taib Mahmud’s (left) Hari Raya open house in Kuching May 2, 2022. — Bernama pic
Sarawak Premier Tan Sri Abang Johari Openg (right) attends Sarawak Governor Tun Abdul Taib Mahmud’s (left) Hari Raya open house in Kuching May 2, 2022. — Bernama pic

KUCHING, May 2 — The Sarawak government will not appeal against the decision of the Ministry of Finance (MoF) not to approve its application for a digital bank licence, Premier Tan Sri Abang Johari Openg said today.

“It is okay. We have a second option,” he told reporters after attending a Sarawak Governor Tun Abdul Taib Mahmud’s Hari Raya open house at the Borneo Convention Centre Kuching (BCCK) here.

He said the second option is related to digital banking.

“(It) should be okay. Not a problem (for Sarawak’s application not to be approved by MoF). We have our e-wallet SarawakPay,” Abang Johari said when asked for his response after the state government’s application for the digital bank licence was not approved by MoF.

Abang Johari had announced last year that Sarawak had applied for the digital bank licence last year as it moved toward the digital economy.

On April 29, Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) announced the successful applicants for the digital bank licences as approved by the (MoF).

Three of the five, licenced under the Financial Services Act 2013 (FS), are a consortium of Boost Holdings Sdn Bhd and RHB Bank Berhad; a consortium led by GXS Bank Pte Ltd and Kuok Brothers Sdn Bhd; and a consortium led by Sea Limited and YTL Digital Capital Sdn Bhd.

The other two, licensed under the Islamic Financial Services Act 2013 (IFSA), are a consortium of AEON Financial Service Co Ltd AEON Credit Service (M) Berhad and MoneyLion Inc; and a consortium led by KAF Investment Bank Sdn Bhd.

Three out of the five consortiums are majority-owned by Malaysians namely Boost Holdings and RHB Bank Berhad, Sea Limited and YTL Digital Capital Sdn Bhd and KAF Investment Bank Sdn. Bhd.

According to BNM, 29 applications received were thoroughly assessed pursuant to section 10 (1) of FSA, and IFSA, which require BNM to consider all the factors in Schedule 5 of the Acts and other relevant policy requirements.

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