Digital Vs. Covid-19: Easing Into eWallets!

Remember the time you used to walk into a bank, take a number and then wait to be served? Yes, I know that was just last month and thus hard to feel nostalgic about. Nonetheless, the switch has been flipped with social distancing during Covid-19 – and will probably stay flipped for the foreseeable future, forcing a reconsideration of any resistance to digital tech. With physical notes being the last choice in these ‘go-contactless’ times, it is inevitable people will go for cashless transactions and online banking.  ‘Wait, there is a difference?’, you ask?

Source: MDEC files

As the MCO is extended to May 12th, concerns about making certain payments on time or availing certain services are crucial. Paying your phone bill, withdrawing your EPF, buying insurance or the mundane duty of buying your weekly groceries, especially considering the expected change in shopping priorities and habits during the fasting month – all fall back on online payments.  These payments may need your eWallet to be linked to your bank account or credit card.

What’s The eWallet For Me?

There is no silver bullet, but here are some options you could start exploring online, in no particular order. The point is, the more sophisticated in services, the easier to use and the wider the array of services, the more likely that an eWallet is appealing.


This is for you if you say, “I want food, groceries, to hail a ride, to buy insurance, to clean and fix.”

Besides the delivery and payment options, this eWallet had announced that, GrabMart is available in Penang, Johor Baru, Melaka, Kota Kinabalu, Kuching and Ipoh. To boost businesses during the MCO period, Grab is also offering free delivery, 30 per cent off GrabFood Signatures, and 50 per cent off GrabMart’s health essentials. They also shared that they will charge 0% commissions on all digital payments made via Whatsapp, Facebook, and phone orders and launched a waitless, cashless (just pay with GrabPay via the app), besides a contactless ‘self-pickup’ option. The move saves customers’ time while helping them avoid crowds.

On the business side, Grab’s Small-Biz Relief program provides financial relief up to RM 3,000 to each GrabFood small businesses in the form of rebate for every order. Brands like Grab now cut across eWallet and mobile wallet service categories, combining both into a single app. Their services include package delivery services, e-hailing, and food delivery.


This is for you if you say, “I want to feel secure and informed above all else”.

This e-wallet released a list of guidelines for users to guard against scammers as well as sellers who take advantage of product shortages by increasing prices, especially with sanitisers and face masks.

Guidelines listed include:

• Reading the product description and reviews from other buyers carefully;

• Using the in-app Shopee Live Chat to verify information;

• Ensuring all transactions take place within its platform to ensure protection under Shopee Guarantee Policy.


This is for you if you say, “I want cashbacks, gaming credits, pay bills and to give e-gifts”.

Why Boost made on this list is because it offers free life insurance with special Covid-19 coverage for all users. An RM1000 payout to families which have lost a member to Covid-19 and a special RM5,000 coverage upon diagnosis of Covid-19. In addition, Boost has set up a Tabung Covid-19 which collects funds for those directly and indirectly affected by the current situation.


Many more eWallets exist in the market and each is as worthy of further exploration as the ones named above. Check out Lazada Wallet, WeChat Pay, Touch N Go, Fave and Big Pay and many more. The time is ripe to begin using eWallet options, especially over the next few weeks.

Current times are testimony to the fact that the digital economy is here to stay – made more so by #socialdistancing and #StayAtHome. Regionally too, the financial industry has expressed a belief that the pandemic will catalyse mobile-first banking, reducing people walking into local bank branches.

And who knows? We could possibly be the last generation to see the inside of a bank!



Malaysian Businesses Must Accelerate Its Digital Transformation to Keep Up

Changing with the times is now an absolute necessity

Business transformation has always been about doing more to improve processes at all levels and engaging a broad swath of factors. This, oftentimes, will take technological advancements into account as they are used to start or spur major changes for the positive livelihood of all.

Just look at how the personal computer, and later on the mobile phone along with the smartphone after, disrupted their respective industries and made it better for everyone.

Road to Digital Development

When Malaysia established a true and proper technology regulator 20 years ago, it had multiple objectives to achieve. Chief among them is the ultimate aim of updating the country into a technological powerhouse. Its role is so crucial that it had been designated as the innovation trailblazer that all must follow. Fast forward to 2017 – having gone far to close the digital divide – the Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC) continues the drive the innovation and technology empowerment agendas.

Previously known as the Multimedia Development Corporation, the recently rebranded regulator has raised the ante in bringing Malaysian businesses to the global stage.  While it originally started out as an effort to create and grow a tech ecosystem that thrives on innovation, it soon became an acceleration platform that is fully focused on propelling Malaysia into becoming a driving force for the digital economy.

This can be seen in the initiatives that MDEC has introduced over the last year such as Malaysia Digital Hubs and Malaysia Tech Entrepreneur Programme (MTEP). There are even other collaborative efforts that contribute to the progress of the digital economy. Among the big achievements are the re-domiciling of a global talent development brands and attracting venture builders who are keen to use Malaysia as a regional staging ground.

As Malaysians become more technologically savvy and this nation transforms itself into a critical driver for innovation and digital economy, it is only a matter of addressing what it is lacking now to enable its full immersion with innovation. This also includes boosting process improvements and efficiencies at all levels. Current statistics show that most Malaysians have an aptitude for the digital realm, like how most who are on Facebook have 60% more friends than the global average or Uber registering 160,000 drivers in the Malaysian towns it is operating in since it started up.

The Big Push

Going by these statistics alone, Malaysians are more than ready to join the digital era.

While businesses are in the know, there are still many – comprising mainly the small and medium-sized ones – that do not understand how critical it is to ready themselves for the 4th Industrial Revolution. They need to learn and adapt quickly so they can embrace this transformative shift.

Technology, long before it became mainstream, has always been seen as an add-on component that introduces enhancements meant for improving processes. That mindset, which always focused on optimisation, must change. Current progress clearly indicates that more needs to be done to encourage the growth of the digital era. In making the switch, most focuses should be directed fully on tackling key issues that have plagued the drive for innovation all these years.

In fact, being able to take on current and oncoming disruptions is the end-goal for businesses as they move to be more accepting and understanding on the need for becoming more technology savvy.

Immediate Changes Needed

In this era of disruption and constant marketplace transformation, businesses and industry leaders have to take the lead and be the change agents. They are the ones who will augment the way companies interact, communicate, and understand the potency for digital transformation. When properly implemented, improvements will occur at almost all levels.

Current advancements seen to-date for Malaysia are a mixed bag of potential results as large enterprises are slow on the up-take. Thankfully, most are already considering plans for digital transformation with those operating at smaller scales being quicker to adapt and plan for deployment.

Undoubtedly, being able to unlock the true value from this next-gen economy model is far from being fully exploited. This factor nicely ties into the necessary paradigm shifts needed to introduce and accelerate the expansion of the digital era. This includes public policy changes playing a key role along with how companies understanding and being quick to realise that they cannot fall back on archaic practices and old school thinking.

Things must change, clearly.

Both factors, and needing to act on them, have to be primary focuses for Malaysian companies if they are to keep up and remain globally relevant. If done right, they can reap the maximum benefits from updating themselves and reading their processes for the digital age.

© 2020 Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation Sdn Bhd (389346-D). All rights reserved.