So I got bored one night and decided, hey, this is a good time as any to dick around in the Bank Negara Malaysia website.
Why not? I’m curious about what information is available on their website. Like many of you, I know that BNM plays an important role in our financial ecosystem, even if I don’t know how exactly.
First impression of the homepage – nice layout, easy enough to navigate. The lack of https in http://www.bnm.gov.my/ bothers me a little bit, if I’m honest. EDIT: It’s https now!
(All images in this article were taken from the Bank Negara Malaysia website. Please don’t sue me.)
As I clicked around, closing down tabs with too many words on them – remember, I’m doing this activity for leisure – I found some pretty interesting stuff. Here are some of them:
#1 – Proper handling of banknotes
The Proper Handling of Banknotes page is short, but surprisingly informative. For example, you’re not supposed to fold bank notes (whoops). And they are apparently washable. Who knew?
I also found out that you can exchange burnt, crumpled (I have a few of those), punctured, ink-worn, shrunk and repaired (taped, I guess) bank notes at any bank and Bank Negara Malaysia office. This is pretty handy information right.
The Bank Negara Malaysia website also has a Banknotes and Coins page explaining the images behind the banknotes. Our banknotes are actually really cool – other countries’ banknotes are not as colourful and pretty.
#2 – All of these Rates and Statistics
If you ever need to find a definitive source for banking and finance-related rates and statistics, you can’t go wrong with the Rates and Statistics page.
Some of the rates and statistics are pretty standard, must-know information:
- Exchange rates
- USD/MYR rates
- Base rates/BLR
- Kijang emas price (if you own gold)
While others I have no idea what they’re for. I tried to click on the pages but some only show data and tables and I can’t make sense of it.
Worth mentioning: the National Summary Data Page for Malaysia is really cool. It will show you, among others:
- The national GDP, sorted by industry
- Employment and unemployment rates
- Average salaries and wages per employee in the manufacturing sector (why manufacturing sector? Who knows)
- Consumer Price Index
- Central Government debt
- Public Sector and Central Government Operations cost
- Latest population of Malaysia
#3 – Standards & Guidelines of all these industries
You can find the legally-binding standards and guidelines that companies from the following industries HAVE to follow:
- Banking & Islamic Banking
- Insurance & Takaful
- Development Financial Institution
- Money Services Business
- Digital Currencies
- Payment Systems
The documents are, uh, lengthy, to say the least, but they’re there for those of you who wants to start a financial company the right way. For example, if you want to start a crypto exchange based in Malaysia or something, make sure to refer to the Digital Currencies section.
BNM can take action against companies which break the rules. For example, if you click on Regulatees/Licensees under Enforcement Actions, a page showing who got into trouble for what and the action taken against them will pop up. I imagine it must be quite embarassing to be named and shamed like that.
BNM also takes action against illegal operators. I was surprised by the variety of offences: money laundering, illegal money services, using the word ‘bank’ without approval, illegal deposit-taking, etc.
#4 – The RINGGIT newsletter
The RINGGIT newsletter, which is available for download from the Notices & Announcements page and the Publications page, is a Malay-language monthly ‘joint-effort publication between Bank Negara Malaysia and FOMCA’ (Federation of Malaysian Consumers Association).
It’s not very timely – I mean, the April 2019 issue was only released in August 2019 – but it has some interesting information and worth a skim. For example, the April 2019 issue included this nice infographic on 7 types of government assistance available for the B40.
This newsletter should have been in the Consumer Informations page, which is
kind of outdated. I mean… it’s last update was in 2017.
I was pleasantly surprised to see Bank Negara Malaysia’s Consumer Education Programmes, bankinginfo.com.my and insuranceinfo.com.my, listed in the page. But they quickly disappointed me 🙁 I mean, come on…
Now, obviously, there are other periodicals, reports, masterplans, research papers etc available in Bank Negara Malaysia website’s Publication page. They can be quite technical, even the ones with pictures and graphs. But hey, I do trust BNM, so if they say things are going well, that’s good enough for me.
#5 – BNM’s Initiatives
BNM listed their initiatives in the homepage itself. I know some of these initiatives, but not all, so this is a cool overview.
For example, I know that:
- BNM maintains a museum and art gallery (I’ve yet to visit but heard good things about it)
- INCEIF is where you should go for your globally-recognised Islamic finance certification
- AKPK helps people in debt
- PIDM protects your deposits and takaful
But I didn’t know about the rest. They provide really good information, depending on what you’re looking for.
- The Housing Watch, for example, provides updated information about housing in Malaysia. The Home Financing Assistance Programmes page is definitely worth a visit if you’re planning to buy your first home
- SMEInfo is a must-visit for small-and-medium business owners. Check out the Financial Assistance page (there’s a lot!)
The Bank Negara Malaysia website turned out to contain a treasure trove of information. I wonder why I haven’t visited it before. Sure, some parts can be a bit too jargon-y for a person without financial background, but that shouldn’t have deterred me – no one grows by staying in their comfort zone, correct or not?
Have you browsed the BNM website? What do you think? Can you share what you personally found interesting?
And lastly, to BNM staff, if you’re reading this (I’m sure some of you do), keep up the good work 🙂