BANK Negara Malaysia has drafted guidelines on minimal security characteristics for cheques to be issued to banks soon, said Deputy Finance Minister Datuk Dr Shafie Mohd Salleh.
He said the guidelines would be distributed after getting feedback from the banking industry.
Cheques that are issued by commercial banks have minimal security characteristics but these are not standardised among the banks, he said.
The characteristics include using paper which is sensitive against chemical substances, the Watermark, ultra-violet ink and ink that dissolves when it touches water, he said, adding that the security characteristics could be identified if bank employees were cautious and wary.
Winding up the debate on the Budget at committee stage, Dr Shafie said Bank Negara would work closely with banks and the police to overcome cheque fraud.
He added that Bank Negara was also encouraging the use of electronic payment as an alternative to cheques.
For instance, account holders are encouraged to use payment method through desktop banking that is prepared by the banks.
To a question by Datuk Ruhanie Ahmad (BN - Parit Sulong) on why new cheques issued by banks were crossed cheques (Account Payee); Dr Shafie said the move was aimed at encouraging electronic payment and to curb fraud.
On another query why banks were imposing RM2 when customers use crossed cheques as cash cheques, he explained that the fee was only charged when a third party withdraws such cheques.
Dr Shafie also said that accumulated losses registered by Perwaja Steel Sdn Bhd was RM2.257bil and the Government would bear the losses until 2007.
Shafie said Maju Holdings which took over the management of Perwaja was still suffering losses in its operation.