Malaysia's economy remains resilient - BNM

03 Oct 2023 11:59am
Pix for illustration purpose only. - FILEPIX
Pix for illustration purpose only. - FILEPIX

KUALA LUMPUR - Malaysia's economy remains resilient anchored by domestic-oriented activities and will continue to be supported by labour market conditions and investments moving into next year, said Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) governor Datuk Abdul Rasheed Ghaffour.

He said the labour market conditions, particularly employment and wages, have continued to improve, supporting households’ ability to spend.

"Meanwhile, investments by the private and public sectors remain forthcoming, and these factors will continue to support the economy in 2024,” he said in his speech at the 13th International Conference on Financial Crime and Terrorism Financing (IFCTF) today.

In addition, he said, the economy would also benefit from a gradual recovery in the tech cycle and a rebound in external demand.

Abdul Rasheed said Malaysia, fortunately, does not face a severe inflation challenge such as in other economies and core inflation has continued to ease to 2.5 per cent in August this year, in line with the lower global commodity prices and improving supply and demand conditions.

"We expect inflation to continue to trend lower in line with slowing momentum of price increases. We will continue to monitor potential risks to its outlook, arising mainly from changes to domestic policy on fuel subsidies,” he said.

On the Overnight Policy Rate, Abdul Rasheed said it is at its pre-pandemic level of 3.0 per cent and the monetary policy remains supportive of the economy.

He said the Monetary Policy Committee remains vigilant to the evolving conditions and their impact on domestic inflation and also growth prospects.

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"Beyond the immediate term, we should aim towards sustaining our long-term growth, while improving the quality of life for all Malaysians. Structural reforms play a critical role in achieving this and the government has recently set this in motion, with the release of the Madani Economy Framework, the New Industrial Master Plan 2030, and the National Energy Transition Roadmap,” he said.

On financial scams, Abdul Rasheed said criminals are becoming increasingly sophisticated, riding the wave of technology and criminal activities are also becoming increasingly complex, as criminals exploit vulnerabilities across borders.

"Therefore, all of us in the financial industry, be it in the public or private sector, must equip ourselves with a full arsenal of the latest and emerging financial crime typologies to effectively detect, prevent, and eliminate illicit activities,” he said.

Abdul Rasheed added that the central bank is continuously adapting its regulatory framework by revising the policies, including Anti-Money Laundering (AML) and electronic Know-Your-Customer (e-KYC) policy documents.

He said such policies would continue to be aligned with the bank’s regulatory "risk-based” philosophy and it is important, especially given the upcoming operationalisation of digital banks in Malaysia.

On the five key measures introduced last year for financial institutions to strengthen fraud countermeasures, Abdul Rasheed said all major banks have implemented them, including restricting authentication apps to a single device and introducing a "kill switch” for customers.

"These efforts have borne fruit as we observe a 58 per cent reduction in unauthorised online banking transactions reported to the National Scam Response Centre (NSRC) in the last five months,” he said.

Since it was first launched in October 2022, the NSRC has received over 19,000 reports on scam cases, which has led to the freezing of more than RM60 million and the identification of 43,000 mule account holders.

On the National Fraud Portal (NFP) to be launched by mid-2024, Abdul Rasheed said it will streamline the industry’s scam response end-to-end, from initial identification and reporting, to the recovery of funds.

"This platform will enhance efficiency by automating processes, enabling a more rapid response to assist victims. We envision the NFP expanding to include predictive assessments of mule accounts, advanced analytics, and fund tracing algorithms,” he added.

The 13th IFCTF, themed "Trust Reinvented: Building a Sustainable Culture of Integrity, Transparency and Accountability”, is jointly organised by the Asian Institute of Chartered Bankers and its Compliance Officers’ Networking Group with the support of BNM, the Securities Commission Malaysia, and Labuan Financial Services Authority.

During the event, the Association of Banks in Malaysia and the Association of Islamic Banking and Financial Institutions Malaysia launched the refreshed #JanganKenaScam awareness campaign.

The national scam awareness campaign underscores the banking industry's commitment to combat financial scams in fostering unity and strengthening its efforts to prevent fraudulent banking activities, and driving forward a singular messaging on scams. - BERNAMA