Malay Currency: A Brief History And 5 Fun Facts

You’ve been studying Malay for a while now, and it’s finally time to show off your skills and let natives know just how much you’ve learned! So, naturally, you start planning a trip. But, how much do you know about the Malay currency? Malaysia is a country that many are dying to visit. It is exciting, full of beautiful natural landscapes, diverse cultures, and delicious food. With over 60 ethnic groups, lots of traditions for visitors to explore, lively cities, and breathtaking, beach resorts – there is something to suit everyone’s needs.

Interested to taste the sumptuous flavors of Malaysia? Before you select a date and purchase your ticket, let’s all face the truth. Whether we admit it or not, most of us are concerned with staying within our budget while traveling. To do that, one of the absolute musts before traveling is getting familiar with the official currency of your target destination.


A Brief Introduction To Malay Ringgit

The Malaysian ringgit (currency code: MR, currency symbol: MYR) is the official Malaysian currency and has been so since 1967. It is also among the nine most traded, major currencies in the world. That is because it is an easy-to-use and stable currency with a high degree of convertibility.

The various denominations of paper notes that are in circulation in Malaysia fall into four categories: RM1, RM5, RM10, and RM50. The largest denomination is RM100, which is also the highest denomination among all countries in the region. Ringgit is subdivided into 100 sen. Unlike ringgit, the sen comes only in coin form and is available in denominations of RM1, RM5, 1RM0, RM20, and RM50.


A Brief History Of Malay Ringgit

Malay Currency

Throughout history, the currency has always been the main form of trade. It is also a way for people to send and receive goods and services. As a result, the currency has changed in response to the needs of society. The first set of banknotes in Southeast Asia was issued in 1826. and were circulated in the form of paper bills.

After World War 2, Britain wanted to establish a new currency to replace their declining pound Sterling, and they chose the Malayan dollar, which was pegged to Sterling at par.

When Malaysia gained independence from Great Britain in 1957, they decided on adopting their own currency – the Malaysian dollar (now known as the ringgit). The Malaysian ringgit was introduced by the newly established Central Bank of Malaysia (Bank Negara Malaysia) in 1967, replacing the Malaya and British Borneo dollar at a rate of 2 to 1. This currency is also called “the new dollar” in some countries, despite the fact that it is not a dollar.

Nowadays, the Malaysian ringgit is not pegged to any other currencies, but it has been closely tied to the Singapore dollar for some time due to close trade relations with Singapore.


Banknotes And Coins Issued By The Bank Negara Malaysia

Malay Currency

The Central Bank of Malaysia issued several series of banknotes since 1967.

The first series of ringgit banknotes consisted of notes that had four values: RM5, RM10, RM50, and RM100. There were no coins at the time.

The second series of ringgit banknotes was introduced in 1971 and was a bit more diverse. It consisted of six denominations: RM10, RM20, RM50, RM100, RM500 (also known as the “silver money”), and RM1000 (the famous “big money”).

The third series of Malaysian banknotes was introduced in 2003, with a design similar to that of the first series.

In the fourth and the last Malaysian banknote series, only four types of banknotes were printed. There were notes denominated in RM10, RM20, RM50, and RM100, which were issued by the central bank, Bank Negara Malaysia.


The List Of Words You Need To Know

Money is a topic that many of us find difficult to talk about. In today’s society, money is not only a topic of conversation but can also be taboo. When we have something to say about money, the most important step is to find something that we are comfortable talking about and understand the topic in question.

Therefore, we will do our best to cover the most common words related to money you might need if you visit Malaysia, so check out the table below and stay tuned!

currency symbolsimbol matawang
currency codekod matawang
exchange ratekadar pertukaran
exchange officepejabat pertukaran
ATMmesin keluar duit
cashwang tunai
denominationskelas unit pengukuran
banknoteswang kertas


Fun Facts About Malaysian Ringgit

Malay Currency

Are you ready for more? Now that you’ve armed yourself with knowledge about Malay currency and its history, let’s have a bit of fun and check out some interesting facts about it.

Fun Fact #1: Ringgit Means “Jagged”

Malaysian ringgit has a story behind it. In the old days, the Malaysian ringgit used to be known as “the jagged one”. The name came from the Spanish silver dollar, widely used during the Portuguese colonial era. Its name was derived from the unevenly cut edges of the coins.

Fun Fact #2: You Can Still Use Old 1 Sen Coins in Malaysia

The RM1 coin has been demonetized for quite some time now, but in case you’ve got a couple of them lying around, you might still be able to use them for payments up to RM2. The seller has a right to refuse them, but it’s legal to try to use them for your purchase.

Fun Fact #3: The RM1 Coin From 1989. Still Had A US Dollar ($) Sign

Even today, it’s not uncommon to hear someone describe the price of something in dollars. Sometimes, locals refer to the ringgit as dollars because it used to be called that way until 1975.

Fun Fact #4: Gold Coins Are Not Made Of Gold

They’re made of copper and zinc. Who would say?

Fun Fact #5: The Fourth Series Of Coins Has A Cool Security Feature

The last set of 20 and 50 sen coins has an extra security feature. If you tilt a coin to its reverse side, it will reveal a latent image of the number 50 and the word “sen”.


Things You Should Know Before Going To Malaysia

Regarding money, there are a couple of things you should be aware of before you set out for your latest, unforgettable Malay adventure. While tourists are free to bring any amount of money they want if the amount exceeds 2500$ they need to declare it and obtain permission to import it into the country. You can find further information about that here.

In addition to that, taking some cash with you would be a good idea. In certain areas (like Tioman Island, for example), there are no ATMs available at the moment. The main tourist destinations have ATMs, but not all of them will be available 24/7. Essentially, the further away you go, the less ATM-friendly places you’ll find.


Learn Malay With Ling App

I think you’re ready for a new adventure after all this learning. But don’t forget to bring your phone and Ling App with you!

Ling App by Simya Solutions is an interactive language app that helps people learn almost any language of their choice. The application can teach you Malay, but it also supports Spanish, French, German, Mandarin, and many more languages.

There are three quick steps for getting started with Ling App by Simya Solutions: choose your desired language; start learning, and don’t forget to share it with friends! In the meantime, don’t forget to check out other articles on our blog and learn some more before you hop on the plane.

Share this post

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Why you’ll keep coming back to Ling

Interactive exercises

Improve your pronunciation by practicing your conversation skills with our app’s interactive chatbot!

Engaging activities

Practice your skills with mini-games or track your progress \with fun quizzes. You’ll never forget a grammar rule again

Mix of languages

Choose from over 60 languages, both big and small, and listen to audio from real native speakers.

Proven results

Backed by linguistic research, our learning methods can help you achieve fluency in record time.