Did you know the word ‘ringgit’ is an old term for ‘jagged’ in Bahasa Melayu? Originally referred as the Spanish silvers used in ancient times, the ringgit was officially accepted as the proper name for the Malaysian currency in August 1975. Ringgit Malaysia (RM) is used as the official term in Malaysia since 1993. The Malaysian banknotes and coins issued by Bank Negara Malaysia have since changed their look as time pass. Here’s an overview of Ringgit Malaysia over the years.
The first series of banknotes were issued by Bank Negara in June 1967, taking over the previous issuer, Commissioners of Currency Malaya an British Borneo. Bank Negara Malaysia has since become the sole issuer of currency in Malaysia. The first series of banknotes were in five denominations: $1, $5, $10, $50 and $100. A $1,000 denomination note was then issued on 2 September 1968.
In 1972, new spelling system were used in the printing of its banknotes of the first series with the official implementation of the new spelling system for Bahasa Malaysia. However, the designs remained the same.
Changes in spelling:
|Currency Denomination||Old Spelling||New Spelling|
|$1 – $1,000||GABENUR||GABENOR (Governor)|
|$1 – $1,000||DIPERLAKUKAN (tender)||DIPERLAKUKAN (tender)|
|$50||LIMA PULOH||LIMA PULUH (fifty)|
|$100||SA-RATUS||SERATUS (one hundred)|
|$1000||SA-RIBU||SERIBU (one thousand)|
The second series of banknotes include two new currency denominations, $20 and $500, to the existing circulation ( $1, $5, $10, $50, $100 and $1,000), with new design.
For the first time, RM2 was introduced to the currency. The third series of banknotes were designed with the Wawasan 2020 theme and the official term ‘RM’ were incorporated. There were 6 denominations issued – RM1, RM2, RM5, RM10, RM50, RM100.
Incorporating the country’s diverse culture, heritage and nature, the latest series of Malaysian banknotes were designed to showcase the beauty of Malaysia. This series of banknotes has 10 security features including:
You may spot the features with the numbers marked on the images:
(Image Credits: BNM)