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Central Bank has Final Say on Cryptocurrency Issuance: Malaysia’s Finance Minister

Last Updated March 4, 2021 3:12 PM
Mark Emem
Last Updated March 4, 2021 3:12 PM

Malaysia has indicated that the country’s central bank has the last word regarding the introduction of new cryptocurrencies.

According to the Minister of Finance, Lim Guan Eng, the country’s central bank Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM), will have to be consulted regarding cryptocurrency projects as the final decision rests with the apex bank.

“This is where I wish to advise all parties, no matter who they are, intending to issue bitcoins or cryptocurrency, that they must refer to Bank Negara which is the authority that will have the final say on this new form of currency,” The Star reported  Lim as having said while answering a question in parliament Monday.

Noting that the government was not against new currency forms, Lim insisted that existing laws would have to be followed.

“Don’t do it without Bank Negara’s guidelines or directive on the matter to avoid doing something wrong and against the law,” added Lim.

Harapan Coin Project

The response by Malaysia’s finance minister came as intense debate rages over the Harapan Coin which has been dubbed the first political fundraising platform in the world to use blockchain technology. During Monday’s parliamentary debate an MP again raised the issue saying the Harapan project had generated hundreds of U.S. dollars despite not having received the approval of BNM.

As CCN.com reported this month, the Harapan Coin project has generated controversy in Malaysia with some politicians pushing for it while others urge caution. Khalid Samad, Malaysia’s Federal Territories Minister, launched the project as a way of raising funds for Pakatan Harapan, Malaysia’s current ruling political party, ahead of next year’s elections.


BNM Approval Being Awaited

While launching the Harapan Coin project Samad indicated that a proposal was being prepared with a view of presenting it to the country’s central bank in order to obtain regulatory approval. Mid this month, Samad defended the project saying cryptocurrencies were the wave of the future.

“The founder of Alibaba Group, Jack Ma, has also said it (blockchain) is the future in terms of technology … When we manage and use it well, there would be value to it. People would buy (the Harapan Coin) and the value would go up when it is used for government matters and other purposes,” Free Malaysia Today reported  Samad as having said earlier this month.

Critics of the cryptocurrency have included former Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak who has urged the individuals and entities behind the project to be more transparent in order to ensure the masses are not ripped off.

Featured image from Shutterstock.