Islamic Finance 

Last Malay village in Kuala Lumpur introduces first cashless Ramadan ‘bazaar’

| 14 May, 2019
 Ahmad Mustakim Zulkifli
Last Malay village in Kuala Lumpur introduces first cashless Ramadan ‘bazaar’
Photo: A Touch 'N Go QR code is displayed at a stall selling drinks in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. No amount of minimum transaction is required for the cashless payment. SALAAM GATEWAY/Ahmad Mustakim Zulkifli

KUALA LUMPUR – Open-air Ramadan street markets, or ‘bazaars’ lure thousands daily across Malaysia with their festive atmosphere, sights and smells of all types of foods and beverages that tempt the fasting Muslim.

This year, the Ramadan bazaar at Kuala Lumpur’s last-remaining Malay village—famous as the home of Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad’s favourite ‘popiah’, a local snack—has the honour of being the first in the country to use a cashless payment system. 

"Kampung Bharu is quite mystical, a city within a city. It has heritage and history and now we are bringing technology,” Syahrunizam Samsudin, CEO of TNG Digital Sdn. Bhd told reporters at a press conference on Friday.

"We want the younger generation, who are more familiar with technology to get connected to the place, we want to merge those elements," he added.

Discussions for the implementation of TNG Digital’s Touch ‘N Go eWallet for Kampung Bharu’s ‘Kashless Bazaar’ started two months ago, said Samsudin.

"We found out that the reception towards the method has been positive, making it possible for consumers with the eWallet to buy their foodstuff from 400 vendors at this bazaar by scanning the QR code at each stall.”

The Touch 'N Go eWallet is an electronic wallet available via a mobile application. Users add cash value to their eWallets using debit or credit cards, as well as via online banking.

"Our eWallet feature is also free for small and medium enterprises, so no cost incurred from those vendors," said Samsudin.

MAKING CASHLESS PAYMENTS COMMONPLACE

TNG’s Touch ‘N Go eWallet is used for a variety of services, including mobile reloads, QR code payments, bill payments, paying for movies, flight tickets and funds transfers.

According to Samsudin, 300,000 cashless transactions are made daily with the Touch 'N Go eWallet. These include PayDirect for road toll payments but, said TNG Digital, the transactions are “largely contributed by small purchases, like F&B payments” at participating food outlets.

The company expects daily transactions to increase, and the ‘Kashless Bazaar’ is one of its initiatives to make its eWallet payment system more commonplace, said Samsudin.

"We want to connect with the community better by making technology more inclusive for both merchants and consumers," said Samsudin.

The Malaysian public is used to paying for road tolls using the physical TNG Cards but the company wants to take contactless payments a step further with the Touch ‘N Go eWallet.

“Making digital payments a habit is a big change in a person’s lifestyle,” Samsudin told Salaam Gateway.

“While Malaysians are ready to go fully digital, we want to make the eWallet usage more common among the public and the Kampong Bharu ‘Kashless Ramadan Bazaar’ is one of the ways for us to ease the public into digital or cashless transactions.”

In keeping with the spirit of charity and giving during Ramadan, the eWallet also offers a donation, or sadaqah, feature.

"Visitors can scan the QR code available at Kampung Bharu Jamek Mosque, which is across the road from the bazaar," said Samsudin.

(Reporting by Ahmad Mustakim Zulkifli; Editing by Emmy Abdul Alim emmy.alim@refinitiv.com)

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