As per reports by the News Straits Times, Malaysia’s Finance Minister, Lim Guan Eng has recently said that those who were planning to issue cryptocurrencies in the country will have to go through their central bank, the Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM). These remarks were said as a reply to a question by the member of parliament, Dr. Tan Yee Kew, about probable risks related to the use of cryptocurrencies. He also made sure to issue a warning to the Bank Negara Malaysia and the government officials to remain extremely alerts about cryptocurrencies, to maintain stability in the financial sector. He also urged everyone to follow the laws in place and stay in line with the guidelines as professed by the BNM.
The New Straits Times also spoke about the efforts of Malaysia to release a government-backed cryptocurrency, the Harapan Coin since before the nation’s 14th General Elections. The relevant paperwork for the coin which will be the world’s first fundraising platform to mesh crypto and blockchain will soon be presented to the BNM and the Malaysian Prime Minister, Mahathir Bin Mohamad. Minister Khalid Abdul Samad said that he would be supportive of the project even if it were delayed by the higher authorities.
The coin, however, has been the victim of criticism from various directions. For instance, Centre For A Better Tomorrow civil society group is of the opinion that this releasing this coin is merely an act of jumping into the bandwagon of releasing something that is trendy, even though it is untested. Another concern for the government is that it could be viewed by the public differently when it comes to cutting down on corruption and graft. Earlier in November, MP Fahmi Fadzil noted that the government had received advice on waiting before releasing the coin in order to figure out better political financing for it.
There have been allegations that the coins are being sold illegally, and questions have been raised with regards to the legitimacy of the coin. MP Khairy Jamaluddin asked if the reported sale of 100 coins, worth 772 USD were legitimate and had been authorized by the BNM and what sort of actions would be taken in light of the allegations since the currency was “being sold in the name of a (political) party.”