Vice-President, Dato Simon Lim Seng Chai on the "Harapan Coin"
Thursday, November 15, 2018
Minister Khalid Abdul Samad should shelve the "Harapan Coin" project as political parties should focus on political work, not get involved in crypto currencies where public awareness is still low and monitoring is challenging. Bank Negara Malaysia in February this year had announced that crypto currencies is not a legal tender in the country.

A political party in the ruling coalition proposing its own digital currency to the regulators raises many red flags, especially since Khalid had said that the crypto could be used for official transactions such as paying fines. Worse still, Khalid had admitted that 30% of the funds raised is channeled to the system administrator. These go against the principles of good governance which CENBET holds dear to.

What happens if something goes wrong? Where do buyers get their recourse, since the Central Bank does not recognise crypto as legal tender? With what is the coin value based on? Isn't a political party having its own currency similar with the organization going for listing? This is an affront to the sacred democratic processes in the country. There are many unanswered questions to this project. The new government, in its quest to be innovative and different from the one it replaced, seems overly eager to adopt trendy but untested schemes. Anything done in haste, however pure the intention, rarely stands the test of time.

The “Harapan Coin's” original aim as a fund-raising tool for the ruling coalition has also raised concerns about foreign political meddling. In the digital currency ecosystem, owners of accounts can stay anonymous if they choose to. This allows foreign parties to influence our political processes. This is unlike conventional political donations where the paper trail is easier to trace and action like blacklisting shell companies can be done.

Malaysia should also learn from the Venezuelan experience which introduced its own crypto, called "petro" which has come under heavy fire from the international community, including US president Donald Trump who had banned US financial institutions from using it.

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