Digital banking is expanding globally and the Asia Pacific has emerged as a hotspot for digital banks. The Hong Kong Monetary Authority granted eight virtual banking licenses in 2019 while the Monetary Authority of Singapore announced four successful digital bank applicants in 2020. Following this trend, Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM), Malaysia’s central bank, issued its Licensing Framework for Digital Banks last year to kickstart digital banking in Malaysia.
© 2021 Vivian Lo/ SOPA Images/Sipa USA/AP Images
Recent statements by Malaysia’s new health minister, Khairy Jamaluddin, that everyone in the country is eligible for a Covid-19 vaccine regardless of documentation status, are a welcome nod toward more equitable access to vaccines. But unless the government follows through with actions to back the words, Malaysia’s many undocumented migrants are unlikely to risk stepping forward to get the vaccine.
Four central banks are collaborating to develop and test a common platform on which to process cross-border digital payments. The initiative aims to bypass the need for intermediaries and, hence, slash the time and cost of such transactions.
The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA), Bank Negara Malaysia, and South African Reserve Bank on Thursday said in a joint statement that they were working to build and test the use of central bank digital currencies (CBDCs) for international transactions.
© 2021 AP Photo/FL Wong
Malaysia’s new prime minister, Ismail Sabri Yaakob, should commit to respect the rights to free speech and peaceful assembly, which have long been suppressed in the country, Human Rights Watch said today. Malaysia’s king appointed Ismail prime minister on August 20, 2021, four days after Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin resigned. Ismail is the country’s third prime minister in three years.
Malaysia has been experiencing a hung parliament where no party or coalition controls a reliable majority since March 2020. As premier Muhyiddin struggles to keep in power, the Covid-19 pandemic in the country worsens. How will Malaysia chart its direction with the new Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob?
Malaysia’s longest-governing political party appeared set to reclaim the premiership it lost in a shock 2018 election result, with its lawmakers summoned to the palace Thursday to verify their candidate has enough support to take office. The choice of former Deputy Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob would essentially restore the ruling alliance of Muhyiddin Yassin, who resigned as prime minister on Monday after infighting in the coalition cost him majority support.
Shankaran Nambiar writes: Malaysia continues to grapple with its growing second wave of COVID-19. The country of 32 million people has now exceeded 995,000 infections and 7900 deaths since the start of the pandemic. In early June 2021, the number of infections increased by more than 7000 in a single day, rising to over 10,000 daily cases in July. For a country in political crisis, the poor state of public health has had inevitable economic consequences.
go to East Asia Forum: Fiscal distress exacerbates Malaysia’s growing COVID-19 crisis | East Asia Forum
Alizan Mahadi writes: Last week, amid the record number of Covid-19 cases, Malaysia presented its progress on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to the United Nations. While some may question the relevance of long-term and lofty targets when Malaysia and the world are grappling with a crisis, it would be myopic if the link between the current crisis and development is not made.
go to ISIS: SDGs can guide our Covid-19 recovery – ISIS
East Asia Forum writes: Just over six months ago Malaysian Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin talked the country’s monarch into declaring a state of emergency — the first in Malaysia since the devastating racial riots of 1969. Muhyiddin said emergency powers were to give his government the political stability and the legal powers needed to enforce COVID-19 control strategies. A spike in cases at the time had threatened to derail what had been overall an effective response to the initial wave of the pandemic in 2020.
go to East Asia Forum: Muhyiddin keeps Malaysian politics in lockdown | East Asia Forum