Penang launches cashless system at markets

Digital payment to curb outbreak: Trader Afiqah Norhisam, 19, posing for a photo after the cashless initiative was launched at the Bayan Baru market in Penang. — LIM BENG TATT/The Star

GEORGE TOWN: In a bid to reduce physical contact between buyers and traders at public markets, the Penang government has launched a cashless initiative.

Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow said the move was a state effort to curb the spread of Covid-19.

He said 250 digital trainers would be stationed at all public markets in the state to guide traders and buyers on using e-payment platforms.

“There will also be 32 digital trainers stationed within the community to educate the public and help them use phone apps for e-payments, ” he said after launching the programme at the Bayan Baru market yesterday.

Chow said the move would also narrow the digital divide among people in the state.

“The appointed digital trainer in the market will be paid RM500 monthly while the community digital trainer will get RM1,000 a month for a period of six months and a year respectively, ” he said.

“This will help to serve those affected by Covid-19 and in need of a job.

“We are targeting that by December, 90% of the total 56 public markets will accept e-payments, and 70% of the total 5,000 merchants will accept e-payments, ” he said.

Chow said to encourage the use of cashless payments, the state government had invited

18 banking institutions and non-bank electronic money issuers to offer various incentives to traders.

The 18 involved in the migration to e-payments in public markets are Maybank, CIMB Bank, Public Bank, Hong Leong Bank, Ambank, Touch ‘n Go Digital, Grab, Boost, Shopee, Razer, WavPay, MCash, KiplePay, GoBiz, iPay88, GHL, Fave and PayNet.

Meanwhile, state Local Government, Housing, Town and Country Planning Committee chairman Jagdeep Singh Deo, who was also present, said there must be a change in people’s outlook on going digital.

“I do not agree that the older generation will not be able to keep up.

“Just like the Penang Smart Parking System, we hope this will be equally successful, ” he said.

Jagdeep added that statistics had shown that people were responding positively to the cashless initiative.

“It also makes it safer for everyone in view of the Covid-19 pandemic.

“This initiative will help people get accustomed to the new normal in the state, ” he said.

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