Thursday, May 1, 2008

don't hoard foreign currency

i had an unpleasant surprise when i visited malaysia in the 2006. because of proximity and hence, the frequency of visits, i normally would exchange more money that i would need and whatever was unspent, i would keep for the next visit. i had some loose change from my previous visit but when i wanted to pay for my purchases with some malaysian one-ringgit coins, the shop-keeper told me: 'ini, ta boleh pakai'.

suddenly, i was five or six ringgit poorer. i was blissfully unaware of the demonetization and withdrawal of the coin from circulation. it was also no longer a legal tender. which meant i could not take the coins to the monetary authority to redeem or exchange for cash. the same thing has happened to the 1-cent coin. it is no longer a legal tender with effect from april 2008.

the one ringgit coin was introduced in 1993 to replace the one ringgit note, which because of its greater usage, tended to get torn or damaged more easily. i did not hear any of my malaysian friends or colleagues mention about the 'demise' of the one ringgit coin. later, i found out that there were two versions of the coin and that forgery had been quite rampant. incidentally, the one ringgit note was reintroduced in 2000.

talking about the two versions, if you travel to penang and beyond, you will wonder if there are indeed two types of currency in use in malaysia. when i first visited penang in the 70s, the hawkers asked for 5 kupang instead of 50 sen and some chinese hawkers quoted the price in poat, which i mistook for bhat.


kimology said...

you are lucky you did not hoard the Rm500 or 1000 notes. These were also discontinued.

yg said...

hi kimology, sometimes it 'pays' to be poor; i never had such big notes in malaysian currency.