Malaysia praised for financial inclusion success

23 May 17

The World Bank has highlighted Malaysia’s success in achieving high levels of financial inclusion, particularly through the use of mobile phones and banking agents.

Eighty one per cent of Malaysian adults have an account with a licensed financial institution compared to a global rate of 61%.

Datuk Seri Johari Abdul Ghani, Malaysia’s second finance minister, said the country’s long-term development plans, strong financial infrastructure and an enabling regulatory environment were behind the success.

Ulrich Zachau, the World Bank’s country director for South East Asia, said: “Access to finance is critical for lifting people out of poverty.

"Having bank accounts and being able to save and get credit helps people and firms make plans, consume. and invest for the long term, and also manage unforeseen short-term shocks.”

The World Bank’s report, Financial Inclusion in Malaysia: Distilling Lessons for Other Countries, notes that Malaysia’s achievement is the result of efforts over the past 20 years and praised the country’s successful in bringing together its policy objectives of financial stability and financial inclusion.

But it added that Malaysia needed to continue to reach out to that part of the population under-served by financial institutions as well as ensuring those with access actually make use of their accounts.

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