WIEF POWERTALK – Digital Banking: Driving Financial Inclusion for MSMEs

25 November 2021

11.00 am (+GMT 8:00)


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Bank Negara, Malaysia’s central bank, is expected to issue five digital banking licenses to successful applications and the decision is set to be made in the first quarter of 2022. Once ready for operation, these successful applicants are expected to contribute to Malaysia’s goal of financial inclusion by offering products and services to address market gaps in the underserved and unserved segments – this includes youth, women and MSMEs.
The surge in digital adoption among businesses and consumers in response to COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the growth of e-commerce and digital entrepreneurship. This will lead to a more inclusive and sustainable digital economy.

Digital technologies play a leading role in promoting financial inclusion. There is early indication that financial inclusion can be achieved through digital economy with innovations such as e-marketplaces, e-wallet and strengthening of logistics infrastructure. However, as Malaysia’s digital economy matures, there is a need to move beyond e-wallets for true financial inclusion to happen. Subsequently, this creates greater impact to the GDP and digital banking can be a solution.

A panel discussion to explore the answer to ‘How digital banking can help Malaysia realise its aspiration of becoming a regional digital hub through promoting digital entrepreneurship?’. Digital banking being the missing puzzle piece to enable more aspire entrepreneur from the underserved segment to participate in Malaysia’s economy.

Key Takeaways

  • Digital banking can accelerate the growth of entrepreneurship and unlock the potential of Malaysia’s economy.
  • Through e-commerce and digital entrepreneurship, we are able to encourage and direct the B40 community to have access and be involved in the digital economy.
  • Addressing the unmet financial services needs of underserved segments, SME’s, MSME’s, young consumers and the unbanked.


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Alain Yee
Head, ShopeePay Malaysia

Alain Yee is Head of ShopeePay Malaysia. As head, Alain is responsible for driving the growth of the e-wallet in Malaysia with the help of a strong team.

Armed with an engineering background, he graduated from Oxford University in 2006 and pursued a career in Engineering in the United Kingdom before returning to Kuala Lumpur in 2015. His career spans over 10 years in management consulting, asset management and corporate finance, predominantly focusing in the technology, media and telecommunications space.


Yeoh Xin Yi
Executive Director and Partner
Fintech & Digital Bank Lead
Head of Financial Risk Management Advisory
KPMG Malaysia

Yeoh Xin Yi is Head of KPMG’s Financial Risk Management practice in Malaysia, with industry and consulting experience in capital and liquidity management with banking institutions. She advises clients on capital and liquidity management, financial stability in financial recovery planning development, business planning and strategy, Internal Capital Adequacy Assessment Process (ICAAP) reviews for Malaysian banks as well as foreign banks in Malaysia.

Xin Yi leads digital banking projects in Malaysia, is involved in regulatory technology work, co-created solutions and collaborates with technology providers to support client needs.

Prior to joining the Malaysia firm, Xin Yi has built extensive experience in the financial services industry in Singapore and Hong Kong covering capital planning and management, liquidity management, business risk management and strategic planning.


Professor Dr Nafis Alam
Head, School of Business
Monash University Malaysia

Professor Dr Nafis Alam is Head of, School of Business at Monash University Malaysia. He worked as Professor at APU, Associate Professor at Henley Business School Malaysia, University of Reading Malaysia, and Nottingham University Business School Malaysia Campus (UNMC). He is a research affiliate of the Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance at the University of Cambridge and contributes to global reports on FinTech, alternative finance, and FinTech regulation.

Dr Nafis has published over 40 articles in leading journals, including The World Economy, Emerging Markets Review, and Pacific-Basin Finance Journal. He has co-authored nine books and numerous book chapters on fintech and Islamic finance. He has given lectures on finance and Islamic finance globally, including at Harvard Islamic Finance Forum at Harvard Law School, a Gulf Research Meeting at Cambridge University, and Seoul International Finance Conference (SIFIC).

Dr Nafis has served as a visiting Professor at various universities in the United Kingdom and Indonesia. He was featured as a Professor of the Month by Financial Times in 2014 and received an award for Upcoming Personality in Islamic Finance in 2016 from Global Islamic Finance Awards. He regularly contributes to mainstream newspapers and professional outlets like Huffington Post and The Edge. He is among the world’s top 100 influencers in fintech and the top five among RegTech influencers.


Freda Liu
Speaker, Broadcast Journalist, Author

Freda Liu is a Malaysian speaker, broadcast journalist and author. She has conducted over 5,000 interviews and some prominent names include Former Prime Minister of Finland, author Stephen Covey and Wikileaks founder Julian Assange. At Malaysian radio station BFM she hosts Enterprise that covers topics on the startup scene, personal development, technology to organisational development and HerVantage that showcases women of leadership and influence.

Freda has written five books and her sixth one, Life’s a Stage – Stories of an Empowered Life was out in January 2021. She was awarded the ASEAN Rice Bowl Awards for Malaysia Startup Journalist of The Year, Kanebo Exceptional Award for Voice and a nominee for MaGIC’s Social Enterprise journalist. She is a World Vision Malaysia advocate for WASH (Clean Water & Sanitation) and ambassador for Women of Global Change KL Chapter as well as Ocean Hero Conservation.

Freda is a member of National Association of Women Entrepreneurs Malaysia and Malaysian Association of Professional Speakers. She is a mentor for Cherie Blair Foundation for Women. She has a Bachelor of Business from University of Southern Queensland and a postgraduate diploma in design thinking.