Finance minister: Banks free to impose restrictions on customers, accounts suspected of misuse, criminal activity | Malaysia

Finance Minister Datuk Seri Tengku Zafrul Abdul Aziz speaks during the launch of the ‘Semarak Niaga Keluarga Malaysia’ initiative in Kuala Lumpur February 21, 2022. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa

KUALA LUMPUR, March 3 — Banks can impose restrictions on any customer or bank account suspected of being involved in account misuse or criminal activity, said Finance Minister Datuk Seri Tengku Zafrul Abdul Aziz.

He said if the transaction of an account raised suspicion, the bank could impose temporary restrictions to enable a comprehensive assessment to be carried out, while ensuring that money from fraudulent or other criminal activities is not withdrawn from the account.

“This is implemented based on the analysis conducted by the bank.

“Among the forms of restrictions that can be imposed by banks are restricting Internet banking facilities, debit cards and automatic teller machines, besides closing the accounts after banks are satisfied with their assessment results,” he said during the question and answer session with the minister at Parliament today.

He said this in response to a question from Datuk Seri Abdul Azeez Abdul Rahim (BN-Baling) who asked whether the bank has the authority to close customers’ accounts based on the fact that there are suspicious transactions in the accounts.

Tengku Zafrul said the bank could decide to continue the transaction or business dealings with the account holder or discontinue the transaction and close the customer’s account after assessing the appropriate level of risk, subject to a restraining order issued by the authorities.

“Account closure measures are only taken after a thorough assessment has been carried out, and after giving notice within a reasonable period to the customer.

“In a nutshell, the termination of the relationship between the bank and customer is not a requirement under the law. It is a business call by the bankers or financial institutions based on their internal risk assessment,” he added. — Bernama