Indecision Mars Crypto Efforts In Malaysia, As Government Remain Undecided Over Legalization

… and central bank issued a joint statement, confirming they were setting up regulation on cryptocurrency and initial coin offering (ICO) assets.

The Malaysian government is still undecided whether to legalize cryptocurrencies in the country.

According to a report by English-language local media New Straits Times on Jan. 12, the Malaysian Federal Territories Minister, Khalid Abdul Samad, while fielding questions on whether digital currencies are currently legal or illegal, replied saying: “At the moment, the answer is neither legal nor illegal as the situation is still unclear.”

Mr. Samad noted that while he was involved in the launch of Harapan Coin (HRP) — a proposed political cryptocurrency — he isn’t the finance minister and therefore the matter does not fall under his jurisdiction.

It would be recalled that in December 2018, Malaysia’s finance regulator and central bank issued a joint statement, confirming they were setting up regulation on cryptocurrency and initial coin offering (ICO) assets.

Samad was also reported to have previously proposed to Bank Negara Malaysia and Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad to use the digital currency, Harapan Coin, for government transactions.

However, according to a report by Cointelegraph in November, 2018, a Malaysian Member of Parliament had urged the government to implement proper cryptocurrency regulations before undertaking the Harapan Coin cryptocurrency project. Cointelegraph further explained in December, 2018 through a dedicated analysis that as much as 30 percent of the funds raised for the project were destined for the system’s administrators — who remain effectively anonymous.

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Malaysian Government Reportedly Still Undecided on Whether to Legalize Crypto

… central bank issued a joint statement in which they confirmed they were setting up regulation on cryptocurrency and initial coin offering (ICO) assets.

The Malaysiangovernment is reportedly still undecided whether to legalize cryptocurrencies, English-language local media New Straits Times reports on Jan. 12.

When answering a query about whether digital currencies are currently legal or illegal, Khalid Abdul Samad, the Malaysian federal territories minister, reportedly said:

“At the moment, the answer is neither legal nor illegal as the situation is still unclear.”

Samad also pointed out that while he was involved in the launch of Harapan Coin (HRP) — a proposed political cryptocurrency — he wasn’t appointed as finance minister, noting that the the matter therefore does not fall under his jurisdiction.

In December 2018, as Cointelegraph reported, Malaysia’s finance regulator and central bank issued a joint statement in which they confirmed they were setting up regulation on cryptocurrency and initial coin offering (ICO) assets.

Samad has also reportedly previously proposed to Bank Negara Malaysia and Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad to use the digital currency, Harapan Coin, for government transactions.

However, as Cointelegraph reported in November last year, a Malaysian Member of Parliament had urged the government to implement proper cryptocurrency regulations before undertaking the Harapan Coin cryptocurrency project.

Cointelegraph explained in a dedicated analysis in December 2018 that as much as 30 percent of the funds raised for the project were destined for the system’s administrators — who remain effectively anonymous.

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Refer to Bank Negara first before implementing cryptocurrency

KUALA LUMPUR: All parties wishing to introduce cryptocurrency in Malaysia must go through Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) first, said Lim Guan Eng.

KUALA LUMPUR: All parties wishing to introduce cryptocurrency in Malaysia must go through Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) first, said Lim Guan Eng.

The Finance Minister said that the government and BNM must be careful with any introduction of cryptocurrencies as such new technologies are still being studied by the financial regulator to ensure the stability of the country’s financial sector.

“There are a few quarters trying to introduce their own (cryptocurrency) mechanism.

“I advise all parties wishing to introduce bitcoin (style) cryptocurrency to refer first to Bank Negara Malaysia as it is the authority that will issue the decision on financial mechanism.

“It is not that we wish to obstruct (cryptocurrency) as we are keeping an open-mind. But it is still subject to existing laws.

“Do not try to do something without guidelines from Bank Negara and commit something against the law,” he said at the Dewan Rakyat today.

Lim was answering a supplementary question from Datin Paduka Dr Tan Yee Kew (PH-Wangsa Maju) on whether the government would setup a body to oversee cryptocurrency and prevent it from interfering with the normal functioning of Malaysia’s official currency.

On Nov 13, Federal Territories Minister Khalid Abdul Samad said that the paperwork and presentation on the government-backed cryptocurrency, Harapan Coin, has been prepared and will soon be presented to BNM and Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

It was reported that the Harapan Coin, is set to be the world’s first political fundraising platform using the two technologies.

He said although the decision and approval from BNM and the Pakatan Harapan (PH) Presidential Council may take a while, he is however determined to continue proposing the project.

The proposal has since attracted controversy from multiple quarters, with civil society group Centre for a Better Tomorrow (Cenbet) reported by an online news portal as questioning the government for being “overly eager” to implement “trendy but untested schemes.”

Earlier at the Dewan Rakyat, Lim said that findings from a study by the Global Financial Integrity placed Malaysia at the 10th rung among developing countries for its US$444.6 billion in illicit monetary outflow from 2005 to 2014.

He said the main method of this illicit monetary outflow is income tax evasion, customs tax and duty evasion, smuggling of forbidden goods, illegal outflow of cash, and abuse of subsidies on goods.

He said that this funding could jeopardise public perception on anti-graft efforts in Malaysia.

“As of September 2018, based on enforcement action by BNM, 62 cases resulted in convictions, 30 cases still in trial stage, and 37 cases under investigation.

“Aside from that, around 15 civil court orders have been issued against offenders offering unlicensed financial services to halt (their) illegal activities,” Lim said.

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Guan Eng puts the brakes on cryptocurrencies pending Bank Negara decision

KUALA LUMPUR: Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng has put the brakes on those seeking to create cryptocurrencies, pending the final word from Bank …

KUALA LUMPUR: Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng has put the brakes on those seeking to create cryptocurrencies, pending the final word from Bank Negara Malaysia.

“We need to be cautious as Bank Negara is the authority that handles and manages all forms of new currency technology.

“I am certain that there are those trying to introduce their own mechanism.

“This is where I wish to advise all parties, no matter who they are, intending to issue bitcoins or cryptocurrency, that they must refer to Bank Negara which is the authority that will have the final say on this new form of currency,” Lim said when answering a question by Datin Paduka Dr Tan Yee Kew (PH-Wangsa Maju) in Parliament on Monday (Nov 26).

Lim said it was necessary for the central bank to carry out an indepth study on the matter.

“Don’t do it without Bank Negara’s guidelines or directive on the matter to avoid doing something wrong and against the law,” he said.

He added that the government was still open to new forms of currency but this must be done in accordance with existing laws.

Dr Tan wanted to know what measure were being taken to address the issue of cryptocurrency as it could result in problems for the local currency.

Later, during debates at the committee stage on Budget 2019, Khairy Jamaluddin (BN-Rembau) asked about the status of the “Harapan Coin” cryptocurrency, saying there were reports that it has been sold through Harapancoin.com.

“Although it is a new initiative and has yet to get approval, it was reported that the coin is being traded at US$45 for 100 units and has since collected US$772,” he said.

The proposed Harapan Coin was raised by Federal Territories Minister Khalid Samad earlier this month, who said it would be the world’s first political fundraising platform using blockchain and cryptocurrency technologies.

Khalid had said that the paperwork and presentation on the Harapan Coin has been prepared and will soon be presented to Bank Negara and Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

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Malaysian Lawmaker Urges Govt to Delay ICO Launch in Call for Regulation

An initial coin offering (ICO) round launched with an aim to raise funds for an opposition political movement is raising eyebrows in Malaysia.
Malaysia CopyCash ICOMalaysia CopyCash ICO
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An initial coin offering (ICO) round launched with an aim to raise funds for an opposition political movement is raising eyebrows in Malaysia.

Fahmi Fadzil, Lembah Pantai MP and PKP communications director, urged the government to practice caution while going ahead with the launch of Harapan Coin. The lawmaker said there is a need for the central bank and other financial authorities first to regulate the crypto space. Furthermore, there need to be proper guidelines concerning crypto-based political funding which happens to be the main feature of the Harapan Coin project.

“The anonymous nature of cryptocurrency may open us up to some issues, and we need to wait for guidelines from Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) in regard of cryptocurrency,” he said while speaking to a lobby of reporters in the parliament

Political Funding on Blockchain

Launched by Federal Territories Minister Khalid Abdul Samad, Harapan Coin utilizes the concept of tokenized funding to raise donations for Pakatan Harapan political party. With elections only a year away, the minister is gearing up to submit his proposal to Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) for regulatory approval. Previously, he had also reached out to Malaysia’s Prime Minister Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad and Pakatan Harapan Presidential Council for their decisions on the ICO project.

“I have prepared a presentation to be presented to these important parties,” said Samad. “It may take a while to get the approval as the prime minister himself is occupied with tight schedules. And, this is not the main agenda as of now. But, I want to pursue this project.”

Samad echoed Fadzil’s opinion on precautions, supporting the need to set up a regulatory body that protects the Harapan Coin from manipulation from the outside.

“It is something that we will carry out, and this is something for the future,” he added.

SOURCE: HARAPAN COIN OFFICAL WEBSITE

As of now, the Harapan Coin project is live and has raised close to $674 against the $120 million funding target.

Crypto Regulations in Malaysia

The Malaysian central bank as of now neither recognizes nor bans cryptocurrency operations. Muhammad Ibrahim, the governor of BNM, said in February that it is the owners who should decide whether the decentralized assets like Bitcoin hold any economic relevance or not. Nevertheless, the bank reminded that they would take necessary action against people found to be indulged in any illegal operations.

As for Harapan Coin, the project seems to be doing everything by the traditional books but a better look at the investor protection and coin security could raise its standards.

Featured image from Shutterstock.

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