Through its various government initiatives and programs, Malaysia has managed to become more digital and aligned with global transformative efforts.
In fact, progressive efforts at the state level have resulted in encouraging feats that have enabled greater digital breakthroughs like the development of smart cities.
Sabah, in East Malaysia, announced the launch of its very own digital wallet or e-wallet called ‘Sabah Pay’.
Previously, its neighbour state, Sarawak accomplished something similar when it developed and deployed S-Pay, a state-owned payment facility that went international soon after.
Although no plans have been announced as to whether Sabah Pay will be launched as an international payment capability, the platform remains promising and convenient.
The centralized payment capability was developed by Sabah Credit Corporation (SCC) and can be used by locals as well as tourists.
The CEO of SCC stated that 27 agencies and 28 businesses have decided to be on Sabah Pay, a number expected to increase. This is because the CEO targets to get five state entities onboard, each month, as they move forward.
That being said, the e-wallet will definitely be particularly fundamental in boosting the state’s government payment collections as the platform features bill payment capabilities as well as links to all public agencies’ portals.
The target is that by the end of the year, 60 per cent of the state departments and agencies’ collection can be done through the Sabah Pay’s Collection Module, with an aim of 100,000 users signing up by then.
Additionally, the digital wallet will also contain news announcements by the state government and agencies as well as a segment that promotes the latest events taking place in Sabah.
Lastly, Sabah Pay will be offering marketing channels on the app for businesses to promote their products and services.
It was noted that this is just in phase one, there will be more services introduced such as virtual account, e-Parking, e-Ticket (park entrance and transport) and smart loan.
The SCC CEO further elaborated that tourists can utilize Sabah Pay to pay for admission fees when entering the state’s public parks and islands.
The move will reinvigorate local businesses as it creates new digital market opportunities and stimulates the economy. Ultimately, digital payment systems add value to the financial ecosystem as a whole.
The Chief Minister of Sabah stated that not only does the local government expect to attract investors and businesses by simplifying its procedures and payments via online using just handphones, the aim is to reduce the burden of the public in terms of costs from having to travel to make payments or go to the bank, for example.
Developing a ‘homegrown’ digital payment capability will definitely highlight Sabah as a progressive and competitive state.
Hopefully, other states in Malaysia can follow suit as they realize how e-wallets can significantly augment government operations and add transparency to the payment system.
According to another report, e-wallets making progress across the globe and Malaysia is no exception. Cash payments in the country are expected to decline by 8.1 per cent.
This means that signifying that e-wallets – among other digital solutions – will grow in prominence and importance.
The e-wallet industry in Malaysia is past the infancy stage. However, there is a need for industry players to tap into market segments that are yet to adopt e-wallet capabilities – may it be consumers or small and medium enterprises (SMEs).
Like any other digital solution, players in the e-wallets space face challenges that hinder their implementation. The biggest one being the general lack of trust among users. Thus, service providers must tackle the concerns that limit e-wallets from being the preferred payment system. This can be done by bridging the knowledge gaps in the market.
E-wallet operators often partner with government agencies to create adoption campaigns and offer relevant incentives. To catapult themselves ahead of the competition, they need to ensure they educate users effectively.
In terms of encouraging adoption among SMEs, providers must look into providing financial education on how embracing e-wallets can truly benefit them while creating new business opportunities.
Nevertheless, at the core of it all, e-wallet providers must always aim to address the concerns of untapped segments in the market while also improving the product itself to assure quality and reliability.