Press Release
April 1, 2018

  • Kuching International Airport to take the lead in being the first truly cashless airport in tandem with the Sarawak Digital Economy Strategy 2018-2022

KUCHING, 02 April 2018 - Malaysia Airports is elevating the total airport experience for its passengers at Kuching International Airport (KIA) by introducing the new cashless airport initiative that will also boost the state's digitalisation efforts. This new digital initiative at KIA which is in collaboration with Digi Telecommunications Sdn Bhd ('Digi') through its e-wallet app vcash was launched by Yang Amat Berhormat Datuk Patinggi (Dr) Abang Haji Abdul Rahman Zohari Bin Tun Datuk Abang Haji Openg, chief minister of Sarawak earlier today.

Malaysia Airports managing director Datuk Badlisham Ghazali said that KIA will take the lead among all airports in Malaysia as the first truly cashless airport offering multiple digital payment options, a move that supports the company-wide digitalisation efforts in its bid to transform itself into a service leader and thus enabling a more passenger-friendly journey. He further mentioned that the organisation is undergoing a digital transformation that encompasses the use of big data analytics or BDA and IoT devices that will allow them to better anticipate foot traffic flows and reduce choke points and congestion at the airports.

Badlisham had also said that the unveiling of the Sarawak Digital Economy Strategy Book 2018-2022 which aimed to propel the state into the digital economy is in tandem with the type of improvements that Malaysia Airports wishes to do at airports under its management.

"The strategic decision made by the Sarawak government had made Kuching International Airport an easy choice for us to launch this Cashless Airport initiative. You may have heard that we already have a collaboration with Alipay to provide cashless convenience to our passengers from China at all our international airports. We wish to embrace the concept of a cashless airport by extending this further through various collaboration with other mobile payment platform providers so as to offer this facility to a larger passenger base," said Badlisham.

vcash is a mobile payment application that offers Malaysians an easy, more convenient way to pay, send, request and store money in their smartphones. Featuring an enhanced layer of security in making payments, vcash eliminates the need for small notes and queuing at ATM, vcash is available across all telco operators and can be downloaded for free from the Google Play Store or Apple App store. At the same time, Digi will also equip KIA with high speed WiFi connection. According to Badlisham, about 70% of retailers at the airport had come on board to offer cashless convenience to airport visitors. Nevertheless, Malaysia Airports is anticipating that KIA will be 100% a cashless airport once Sarawak’s own mobile payment platform Sarawak Pay is made available at the airport soon.

In addressing the importance of the state's digitalisation efforts, Abang Zohari said, "We want to see Sarawak become a fully developed state in Malaysia and completely eliminate the urban and rural divide by the year 2030. This will not be possible without the intervention of technology. Digital connectivity will be the means to achieve this and as such, the 47 strategic directions outlined in the road map clearly formulates how we are going to get there."

Abang Zohari stressed that the success of digital strategies is dependent on the strong collaboration between the government and private sector and thus, the state is delighted that Malaysia Airports had chosen KIA to pilot its cashless airport initiative.

Also present at the launch of the cashless airport initiative was Loh Keh Jiat, Digi's Chief Marketing Officer. He said, "Digi is passionate about delivering convenience enabled by digital connectivity to our users. This partnership with Malaysia Airports allows us to continue provide seamless internet access for users especially those who are on-the-go, allowing them to not only stay connected and reachable at all times but also the freedom to easily stream entertainment related content such as online videos and games. With the state government embracing financial technology, we believe e-wallet solution such as vcash will be widely accepted by the airport visitors. Digi is happy to support the state government’s goal to capitalise on digital technology in transforming its economy and move Sarawak towards becoming a cashless society."

Last year, KIA registered a total of 5.1 million passenger traffic movement – a 3.6% growth compared to 2016. However, retailers at the airport had enjoyed an even higher sales per passenger growth of 5.2% that translated to sales of RM8.00 per passenger. Hence, Malaysia Airports is confident that apart from GDP contribution, the latest digitalisation initiative will also drive the local economy by boosting sales for the local retailers at KIA.

Apart from launching the cashless airport initiative, the Sarawak chief minister also officially opened the Makan Makan Food Court at KIA which boasts local favourites such as Mee Kolok and Laksa Sarawak.