Penang aims to be ‘cashless society’ by 2030

Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow (right) listening to TNG Digital CEO Ignatius Ong (in black) on how to pay for char koay teow using e-wallet at a hawker stall in George Town, Penang.

GEORGE TOWN: Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow today urged the people in Penang to use e-wallets to pay for food, goods and services as part of the state’s long-term goal to be an advanced and cashless society by 2030.

He said Penang would soon offer payments of taxes and other government fees through e-wallets and would form a new state “digital” corporation to further promote this.

“We want to extend this cashless convenience to people paying their government fees, too. And I hope local retailers and start-ups would also adopt the cashless payment method.

“Ultimately, our goal is for Penang to be a cashless and advanced society,” he said at a press conference here today.

Chow said the adoption of e-wallets were expected to rise through the federal initiative, “eTunai rakyat”, offered through three major platforms.

The “eTunai rakyat” will begin on Jan 15, where Malaysians can claim RM30 each through Boost, Grab and Touch ’n Go eWallet apps. The money credited must be spent within two months.

“I must admit, in the past, I had my doubts about e-wallets, but after hearing and experiencing it for myself just how easy and convenient it is, I, too, will soon be converting to the cashless way of life.

“I feel the convenience of using e-wallets will benefit retailers the most, as it will ease the transfer of their sales directly to their accounts,” Chow said.

The Penang government has already embarked on a large-scale cashless system to pay for city council parking lots on the island and Seberang Perai, via the Penang Smart Parking mobile app, with the older scratch coupon system to be stopped from 2021.

Earlier, Chow launched the Touch n’ Go eWallet in Penang, with stalls and hawkers along the key heritage area in George Town accepting payments through the app.

He paid for his char koay teow, rojak and other meals at a hawker stand at the Hin Bus Depot using the app.

TNG Digital CEO Ignatius Ong says the Touch n’ Go eWallet is to be the largest of its kind in the country, with 7 million users and 120,000 merchants already accepting payments through the platform nationwide.

He said with today’s launch, the number of merchants using the e-wallet app in Penang was expected to triple on the back of the eTunai initiative. He did not say how many merchants it already had in the state.

Ong said the company hoped to expand the use of the Touch n ’Go eWallet to wet markets and to win traders over due to its convenience.

“Traders need not worry as they will not have to take their cash and bank in at the end of the day. Instead, the money will be directly credited into their bank accounts the following day.”