The Ringgit: Then And Now

Bank Negara rolled out design changes to the ringgit bills back in 2012, but to me they are brand new, and I’m finding it hard not to miss the mid-nineties design.

The Agong’s bust has been reduced by a third on all new notes, which seems to diminish his royal stature. A new 20 ringgit note has been introduced, but the orange-red colour can be mistaken for the red 10 ringgit note. Three shiny, rectangular shapes have been added to the left half of both 10 and 20 notes, a feature that is inconsistent and quite frankly, looks like a misprint. On the 100 note, there are not three, but four rectangles. On the 50 note, they show up on the back, not on the front like the others! It’s because of these new features that I keep flipping the note over, thinking that I’m looking at the back of the note when it’s really the front.

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The ringgit that I came home to.

And speaking of the back of note, I’m sad to see the Petronas Twin Towers–hands down one of Malaysia’s most recognised landmarks–is gone from the 5 note. Keeping the Twin Towers on our currency seems to be in line with “Distinctively Malaysia,” the theme of the new bills. Instead, they’ve been replaced by some hornbills, rare birds found primarily here, in Thailand and in Singapore. There’s such a lot of emphasis on flora and fauna on the new currency that it seems like that should have been the theme instead.

Call me sentimental, but compare them to the older notes. There’s one even colour on each note (versus multiple shades on the new ones,) and the design is much cleaner and more consistent. I also like the horizontal positioning of the words “Bank Negara Malaysia,” and the Jawi writing on the side. They stand out, giving the notes additional character. Do you agree?


The ringgit that I grew up with.

Well, I may not be so fond of the new design of the ringgit, but it buys me goods and services, and that’s what matters most, I suppose! At the end of the day, money serves a practical purpose.

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