Fahmi Fadzil, a Member of the Malaysian Parliament representing the People’s Justice Party, is urging the government to wait for Bank Negara Malaysia’s (BNM) cryptocurrency guidelines before introducing the Harapan Coin (HRP).
Harapan Coin, created by a group of patriotic and concerned Malaysian citizens, is a blockchain-based political fundraising platform aimed at eliciting opposing sentiments against the current governing coalition, in preparation for the coming election. Harapan Coin’s whitepaper has been completed and will soon be presented to BNM and Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.
“I believe we need to make sure that we have proper regulation around political financing in place because the anonymous nature of cryptocurrency may open us up to a number of issues,” Fadzil said. “At the same time I think we need to wait for guidelines from Bank Negara in regard to cryptocurrency.”
Federal Territories Minister Khalid Abdul Samad, co-founder of HRP, said that while the decision and approval from BNM and the Pakatan Harapan (PH) presidential council may take a while, he is determined to continue proposing the project.
“The founder of Alibaba Group, Jack Ma, has also said cryptocurrency is the future in terms of technology,” Samad said “What is there to be surprised? When we manage and use it well, there would be value to it. People would buy (the coin) and the value would go up when it is used for government matters and other purposes. When we use this technology, people will no longer have to fear of trying something that is new to the country. They will see that this technology is transparent and has accountability.”
Simon Lim, vice president of civil society group Centre for a Better Tomorrow (Cenbet), said that political parties should focus on political work instead of involving themselves in cryptocurrencies.
“A political party in the ruling coalition proposing its own digital currency to the regulators raises many red flags, especially since Khalid said the crypto could be used for official transactions such as paying fines,” Lim said. “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 actions like blacklisting shell companies can be taken.”