An NGO which monitors financial and regulatory barriers in the industry has questioned the RM1 MEPS fee for interbank withdrawals, calling it “unreasonable” in the light of technological advances.
Digital Internet Association Malaysia president K Nantha told FMT that the fee should in fact be lower.
“It is puzzling that MEPS continues to impose the RM1 fee although technology has significantly reduced the cost of withdrawals,” he said.
MEPS is under Payments Network Malaysia Sdn Bhd (PayNet), whose largest shareholder is Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM). Its remaining shares are held by a consortium of 11 banks.
MEPS declined to comment on the RM1 fee when contacted by FMT.
Nantha said PayNet had also introduced a cheque processing fee of 50 sen in 2015 which, according to the Associated Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Industry Malaysia, would increase the cost of doing business by RM100 million each year.
He said this, too, should not be the case as technology exists to bring down the cost of processing cheques.
“As a government-owned entity, PayNet has not been very forthcoming with information, especially on the rationale of collecting the RM1 fee for interbank MEPS withdrawals,” he said, adding that the annual amount collected for this should be made known to taxpayers.
He also questioned BNM’s role as regulator through PayNet, saying this could give rise to conflict of interest.
Likewise, he questioned the wisdom of appointing a foreigner as CEO of PayNet, saying there are many capable local candidates who can handle PayNet’s operations which have been in place for a long time.
He urged BNM and the Securities Commission to do more to encourage the adoption of fintech or financial technology in the country.
He said they could take a cue from Singapore, which has been aggressively promoting a vibrant fintech ecosystem.