What is the Currency of Malaysia?

By Sharon Omondi on August 1 2017 in Economics

Malaysian ringgit notes.

Malaysian Currency

Malaysia is a country found in the south eastern part of Asia. It particularly occupies parts of the Malay Peninsula and the island of Borneo. The capital city of Malaysia is Kuala Lumpur. The currency used in Malaysia is the Malaysian ringgit, formerly known as the Malaysian dollar. It is symbolized as RM and coded as MYR. Bank Negara Malaysia is the only institution allowed to issue the Malaysian ringgit.

History of the Malaysian Ringgit

On June 12th, 1967 the Bank Negara Malaysia issued the Malaysian dollar for public use. This currency replaced the British Borneo and Malaya dollar at par value. The new Malaysian dollar was valued at 8.5 dollars against the Sterling Pound but five months later the pound was devalued by 14.3 percent eventually leading to its collapse in 1972. In 1993, the sign RM replaced the dollar sign ‘$’. Between 1997 and 2005, the ringgit experienced devaluation due to the “1997 East Asian financial crisis.” Subsequently, the Central Bank resolved to pegging ringgit to the US currency and making it non-tradeable out of the nation of Malaysia. Following these monetary measures, the ringgit appreciated incredibly against the dollar to 3.16 in April 2008.


The coinage of the Malaysian Ringgit took place in three series. The first series took place in 1967 and saw the introduction of coins in denominations of 1, 5, 10, 20 and 50 sen. The 1 ringgit coin was introduced and circulated four years later. The coins produced were made of cupronickel and contained the federal star found on the national flag of Malaysia and the then Malaysian Houses of Parliament. The second series of coins were designed by Low Yee Kheng and released in 1989. They had totally different designs from the coins produced earlier and were made of an alloy of copper, zinc, and tin. These coins had items that represented the Malaysian culture as opposed to those made in the first phase. Most of the coins produced in these two series are no longer in circulation. The third series of coins were minted at the Bank Negara Mint and supplied by the Poogsan Corporation of South Korea as a directive by the Deputy Finance Minister, Datuk Donald in 2011. The denominations of the coins currently used are 5, 10, 20, and 50 sen.

Bank Notes

The notes in Malaysia were issued in four series. In the first series, which was in 1967, denominations of 1, 5, 10, 50, 100, and 1000 dollars were issued. Many years later in 1993, the second series involved the replacement of the $1 note by a coin. In 1999, the RM 500 and RM 1000 were discontinued. In the third series, the designs of the notes printed were in tandem with the vision of Malaysia to be a self-sufficient industrialized state by year 2020. These are the notes which are currently being used which are denominated as RM1, RM5, RM10, RM20, RM50, and RM100.

Commemorative Bank Notes

RM 50 is the only note that stands out as it was issued to commemorate the Commonwealth Games held in Malaysia in 1998.

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