New Malaysian coins cause confusion

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July 10, 2012 – At the beginning of this year the Malaysian Central Bank, Bank Negara Malaysia, has issued a new coin series, the third, called ‘Distinctively Malaysia’. These coins were commended being ‘smaller and lighter making it more user-friendly for the public’ and easily to distinguish in daily use thanks to the visual differences in colour, size and edge design. However, it seems that consumers do not benefit from these changes.

Hiew King Cheu, MP for Kota Kinabalu, capital of the West Coast Division of Sabah on the isle of Borneo, reports numerous complaints he has received since the introduction of the new coins.
‘Many people find these coins very confusing and the tendency of mixing these up is very high and frequent. Shop owners and shoppers are finding that they are either shortchanging or paying extra as they were unfamiliar with the coins,’ he said. ‘The difference in the value of these coins is big, leading to arguments and dissatisfaction. The new yellow coins are already fading and will become black soon and create more trouble.’
The coins with the face value of 5 sen, 10 sen, 20 sen and 50 sen apparently hamper even the bank staff’s work when they have to count and separate the coins.
According to Mr Hiew immediate action from Bank Negara is required by withdrawing the new coins and returning to the previous series instead. In addition Mr Hiew asks: ‘Why did Bank Negara put the new coins into the market and without doing a careful check and evaluation of their suitability?’
This question has not been answered, yet. However the bank may react, this occurrence clearly emphasises the necessity of planning carefully the introduction of a new coin series.

You can find more information on MP Hiew King Cheu on his profile at the parliament website.

There is also an interview with Mr Hiew here.

An article on that issue with the new coins series has been published by the journal Free Malaysia Today.

We reported on the introduction of this new series here.

The Central Bank presents ‘Distinctly Malaysia’ here.