KUCHING: Rural folk in Sarawak will have easier access to banking services following the launch of a mobile bank initiative by the state government.
Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg said the initiative involved four banks - Bank Simpanan Nasional (BSN), Bank Rakyat, AgroBank and RHB Bank.
He said BSN would serve rural settlements in Sebauh and Sungai Asap, Bank Rakyat in Sebauh, Tatau, Sungai Asap and Belaga, AgroBank in Padawan, Bau, Lundu, Sematan, Lingga, Pantu, Tebedu, Asajaya and Sebuyau and RHB Bank in Asajaya, Sadong Jaya, Balingian, Oya and Igan.
"This is a new approach for us to address the challenges faced by the rural population in accessing banking services," he told reporters after flagging off the four mobile bank vehicles here on Thursday (May 6).
Abang Johari said the state government allocated RM1.6mil to kickstart the initiative by helping the participating banks purchase and equip vehicles with automated teller machines (ATM) and other facilities to provide mobile banking services.
"I'm glad the banks have responded to our request to provide banking services to people in the rural areas where there are no banks," he said.
Deputy Chief Minister Tan Sri James Masing, who was also present at the launch, said the initiative would be a game-changer for rural farmers.
"Now they need not go to towns for their banking requirements. These banking facilities are brought right to their doorstep," he said.
He added that the mobile bank would also encourage farmers to deposit their earnings without the need to travel to a bigger town.
"I would like to thank the banking fraternity for their understanding to serve the rural population and the expeditious manner in which they answered the call of Sarawak's rural needs," he said.