JOHOR BARU: The state government has decided to form a digital council to spearhead plans to set up a digital bank in the future.
Johor Mentri Besar Datuk Hasni Mohammad said going digital was the way forward and people should be prepared to face this.
He added that the Covid-19 pandemic had changed the economic landscape of the world, as nowadays it was the new normal to use digital technology, especially in business.
“This is evident when there was a 23.5% increase in Internet usage during the first week of the movement control order (MCO) in March.
“There was a further increase of 8.6% in the second week of MCO,” he said in his speech during the launch of Johor’s E-Marketplace.
Further details about the council would be announced in due course, he added.
Hasni said the establishment of a digital bank would create a more inclusive financial ecosystem for the people of Johor.
He said people and the business community needed to adapt to digitalisation and its usage in commerce.
“We see a lot of potential in this field for businesses,” he said, adding that based on national statistics, some 79,274 small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and small businesses used e-commerce platforms in the first six months of this year.
He added that the Statistics Department also reported an increase in online purchases by 39.3% in May and 28.9% in April nationwide.
Johor’s plans to set up a digital bank was first announced in April, with the Menteri Besar stating that the move was intended to increase the inclusivity, quality, and accountability of the state’s financial sector for all market segments.
Other than Johor, Sarawak, too had announced that it would apply for a digital banking licence from Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM).
On the Johor E-Marketplace to be held starting Aug 9 until Dec 31, Hasni said that this special micro website would unveil thousands of Johor products in various categories, including food, fashion and household items.
“This is a state government initiative to help local entrepreneurs to dip their toes in such online businesses,” he said, adding that some 3,000 entrepreneurs in the state would benefit from this online platform.
Meanwhile, Johor investment, cooperatives, entrepreneurship development and human resources committee chairman Mohd Izhar Ahmad, when contacted, said the state government would be providing RM500,000 worth of discount vouchers to encourage people to use the platform.
“This will be an exciting programme as I am targetting sales of RM15mil during this period until the end of the year,” he said, adding that similar programmes in other states including in Selangor and Penang had been successful.
Mohd Izhar said this was the state’s second attempt in using online platforms, as previously, Johor had used it during the Ramadan period.
“That was a success and this is why we are now moving into other items besides food,” he said.
“If the initiative was successful, the government planned to extend it next year,” he said.
“Online shopping has already moved towards packaging and selling fresh items such as meat and vegetables to customers.
“There is a lot of possibility for this business,” he said, urging local entrepreneurs to participate in the programme as training was provided for free. – The Star