Malaysian MP Urges Gov’t to Create Regulations Before Approving Political Funding Coin

A Malaysian Member of Parliament has urged the government to implement proper cryptocurrency regulations before undertaking the Harapan Coin (HRP) cryptocurrency project, local English-language news daily the Star reported Nov. 14.

Launched by “a group of patriotic and concerned Malaysian citizens, within and outside of Malaysia,” Harapan Coin claims to be the world’s first political fundraising platform deploying cryptocurrency and blockchain technology. The project’s mission is to raise money for the opposition party of Malaysia. The coin’s creators suggest that HRP has the “potential to become an official currency.”

Fahmi Fadzil, director of the People's Justice Party (PKR) of Malaysia has reportedly stressed the necessity of appropriate cryptocurrency regulations before they are used to finance political campaigns and initiatives. Fadzil, whose party is part of the ruling coalition, voiced concern over “the anonymous nature of cryptocurrency:”

“The anonymous nature of cryptocurrency may open us up to a number of issues and we need to wait for guidelines from [the country’s central bank] Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) in regard of cryptocurrency.”

Per Malaysian news portal the New Straits Times, former prime-minister of Malaysia Datuk Seri Najib Razak previously called the creation of HRP in question, asking who would truly benefit from the “HRP scheme.” Razak reportedly ordered Federal Territories Minister Khalid Samad — who had advocated for the coin and proposed it to BNM — to reveal the identities of the individuals behind the project.

As the Star further reports, the paperwork and presentation of HRP will soon be handed over to BNM and Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad. Though approval may take time, Khalid will purportedly continue to support the project.

BNM initially planned to issue a directive to regulate the use of digital currencies in the country in early 2018, having discussed and worked on proposed cryptocurrency regulation for several months. In February, the country passed legislation requiring crypto exchanges to fully identify traders after the implementation of new central bank Anti-Money Laundering (AML) legislation.

Later in March, BNM hinted it was planning to integrate blockchain in the banking sector, for which reason it had established a dedicated working group “to work on best practices.”