PUTRAJAYA, Jan 16 — The government’s e-cash programme which began yesterday and enables about 15 million eligible Malaysians to each claim a RM30 allocation from any of the three selected e-wallet operators, Touch ‘n Go, Grab, and Boost, has received a rousing response.
Announcing this, Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng said about 200,000 applications had been received, out of which 160,000 had been approved.
“The response has been very good and I hope it will be used by the business community.
“Its use at such a high capacity made the system hang and I hope there will be no further technical problems,” he told reporters at his ministry, after presenting an allocation of RM100 million to Islamic educational institutions comprising ‘tahfiz’ schools, ‘sekolah agama rakyat’ and ‘sekolah pondok’.
The minister said he would monitor the use of the e-wallet system today.
All Malaysians aged 18 and above, with an income of less than RM100,000 a year, are eligible to receive the RM30 in e-cash.
The government has allocated RM450 million for the e-cash programme.
Asked about whether the encouraging response would prompt the use of e-wallets as a mechanism for the payment of subsidies to the public, such as petrol, Lim said it would cover welfare payments such as cost of living assistance (Bantuan Sara Hidup).
He added however that the government would need to take account of segments of society which are less exposed to digital payment systems, and therefore, as a first step, efforts would need to be undertaken to encourage more members of the public to use e-wallets.
On another matter, Lim said the Cabinet yesterday discussed the proposed takeover of highway concessionaire PLUS Malaysia Bhd.
“Please wait for the written announcement,” he said, adding that the announcement on the matter would have to be in writing because it was a major one.
It was reported previously that the Cabinet would discuss the proposed takeover of PLUS Malaysia and four highways linked to Gamuda Bhd during its meeting yesterday.
In December last year, Works Minister Baru Bian reportedly said that the Cabinet had requested for a re-tabling of the details on the takeover of PLUS.
The four Gamuda-linked highways are the Shah Alam Expressway (Kesas), Damansara-Puchong Expressway (LDP), Western KL Traffic Dispersal Scheme (Sprint) and the SMART Tunnel.