Malaysia CBDC Tracker

CBDC Information

Economic Information

Monetary Base


Cash Issued




Country Information

Freedom Rankings

Cato and Fraser Human Freedom Index:


Freedom House Index:


Reporters Without Borders Freedom Index:


Malaysia is considered to be in the pilot phase. Bank Negara Malaysia was a key participant in the development of two CBDC prototypes led by the Bank for International Settlements.

CBDC History and Development

Bank Negara Malaysia participated in “Project Dunbar” in 2021 alongside the Bank for International Settlements, the Reserve Bank of Australia, the Monetary Authority of Singapore, and the South African Reserve Bank. This pilot program was designed to explore how to create a single platform that could settle transactions made in CBDCs from different jurisdictions.

In 2023, Bank Negara Malaysia assistant governor Norhana Endut said, “We don’t see the pressing need to immediately issue the retail CBDC, but I think what's most important is that we want to actually pursue the efforts to unpack some of the merits of these technologies … as a mean to achieve a more efficient inclusive and vibrant financial system.”

Human Rights and Civil Liberties Concerns

Malaysia earned a 53 out of 100 in Freedom House’s 2023 Freedom in the World report. Chief concerns relate to government oppression of dissenting voices and discrimination of ethnic groups. A CBDC could be used to worsen both issues.

Both on- and off-line, Malaysian authorities have used oppressive laws to silence voices critical of the government. In fact, Amnesty International has pointed out that “According to the government’s own figures, police conducted 692 investigations between January 2020 and June 2022 under the Communications and Multimedia Act (CMA), resulting in 87 prosecutions including of artists, performers, and political activists.” A CBDC is of particular concern in this context because it could be used to target opposing voices and cut them off from society through direct financial controls.

Discrimination is another point of concern. According to Freedom House, “Although the constitution provides for equal treatment of all citizens, it grants a “special position” to ethnic Malays and other groups that are considered native to Malaysia, known collectively as bumiputera. The government maintains programs intended to boost the economic status of bumiputera, who receive preferential treatment over ethnic minorities such as the Chinese and Indians in areas including property ownership, higher education, civil service jobs, business affairs, and government contracts.” Unfortunately, a CBDC could be used to both target benefits to the favored class and undermine those out of favor.

For additional information on concerns regarding violations of human rights and civil liberties, see the following reports by Amnesty International, Financial Tyranny Index, Freedom House, Human Rights Watch, Privacy International, and the U.S. Department of State. For additional information on concerns regarding the risks of CBDCs, see the following webpage and report by the Cato Institute: The Risks of CBDCs and Central Bank Digital Currency: Assessing the Risks and Dispelling the Myths.

For additional information regarding metrics, the methodology page explains each of the data points and provides their respective sources.