Malaysia: Those Looking To Launch Cryptocurrencies Must Go Through Central Bank

Kevin O'Brien

Malaysian Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng recently affirmed that those looking to issue a cryptocurrency in the Asian nation must go through the central bank, the Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM).

According to the New Straits Times, Lim made the remarks while answering a question from member of parliament Dr. Tan Yee Kew concerning potential cryptocurrency risks.

The Finance Minister noted how the Bank Negara Malaysia and government officials must remain cautious when it comes to cryptocurrencies in order to keep the financial sector stable. Lim also warned people to stay in line with the BNM’s guidelines and not to break existing pertinent laws.

A Government-Backed Cryptocurrency?

The New Straits Times has also reported on the efforts behind the government-backed Harapan Coin, which first emerged before the nation's 14th General Elections. The coin is purportedly going to be the world's first political fundraising platform that meshes crypto and blockchain.

Earlier in November, a minister said the relevant paperwork for the coin would be presented to the BNM and Malaysian Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

Minister Khlaid Abdul Samad said he would remain resolute with the project even if a decision from higher authorities was delayed.

However, the coin has come under fire from a variety of directions. Some, like the Centre For A Better Tomorrow civil society group, argue the planned cryptocurrency is just a rush to roll out something that seems trendy even if it is untested.

Others worry a government-backed coin could hurt public perception when it comes to efforts on cutting down corruption and graft.

Member of Parliament Fahmi Fadzil said earlier in November how the government had been advised to wait for clearer crypto and political financing stipulations before introducing Harapan Coin.

Is The Coin Legitimate?

A Member of Parliament recently sounded off on the entire project amid allegations the coin is being sold illegally. Free Malaysia Today wrote on November 26th how Member of Parliament Khairy Jamaluddin asked if reported sales were legitimate since the coin has not received approval from the BNM.

At the time of his comments, he said a total of $772 had been collected from sales, which saw 100 coins being sold for $45.

Khairy questioned what sort of actions would be taken in light of the allegations since the “currency is being sold in the name of a (political) party.”