Saturday 18 January 2014

Malaya & British Borneo coins history

The Federation of Malaya was formed on 1st February 1948 and existed until 16 September 1963. The Federation of Malaya comprising 11 states Perak, Selangor, Pahang, Negeri Sembilan, Perlis, Kedah, Kelantan, Terengganu & Johor (nine Malay states) and two of the British Straits Settlements, Penang and Malacca.

In September 1933, Sir Basil P. Blackett was appointed by the Secretary of State for the Colonies as a head of the Currency Commission to review the currency for the Straits Settlements and the neighboring Malay States

Malaya coin

The Board of Commissioners of Currency Malaya, came into being in October 1938 following the Blackett Report. The Blackett Report was adopted by the Government of the Straits Settlements, the Federated Malay States, Unfederated Malay States and Brunei. Legislation was enacted by the Straits Settlements Currency Ordinance (No. 23) of 1938, and ratified by the various states during 1939. The board started to issue currency in 1939. The coinage of the Straits Settlements continued to be used until 31st December 1952, after which it was demonetized.

George VI

In 1939, The Board of Commissioners of Currency Malaya issued their first set of coins with the inscription of "COMMISSIONERS OF CURRENCY MALAYA" under the reign of King George VI. The potraits of King George VI bear the inscription of "GEORGE VI KING AND EMPEROR OF INDIA". Starting in 1948, the inscription change to "KING GEORGE THE SIXTH" after the Indian Independence Act 1947.

The first set of coin were released in 1/2, 1, 5, 10 and 20 cents. The 1/2 and 1 cent were issued in bronze. The 5, 10 and 20 cents were minted in .750 fine silver.

The Currency Ordinance No. 44 of 1952 of the Crown Colony of Singapore, No. 33 of 1951 of the Federation of Malaya, No. 10 of 1951 of the British North Borneo and No. 1 of 1951 of the Crown Colony of Sarawak implemented an agreement between those governments and the State of Brunei for the establishment of a Board of Commissioners of Currency to be the sole issuing authority in Malaya and British Borneo. This agreement became effective on 1 January 1952 and the board was renamed The Board of Commissioners of Currency, Malaya and British Borneo. The Board consisted of five members:
1. Financial Secretary of Singapore who was also the Chairman of the Board
2. Minister of Finance for the Federation of Malaya
3. Governor of Sarawak
4. Governor of British North Borneo
5. British Resident of Brunei
6. and two further appointed by agreement of the participating governments.

In 1953, coins bearing the new design of the Board of Commissioners of Currency, Malaya and British Borneo weer released. Cupro Nickel 5 cents and 10 cents were released in 1953 followed by the 20 cents and 50 cents in 1954. The 1 cent coin in Bronze were released in 1956.

Elizabeth II

All these coins have the inscription "QUEEN ELIZABETH THE SECOND". The reverse is inscribed "MALAYA AND BRITISH BORNEO" with the respective denomination in the centre and the year date below. In 1962, new 1 cent coins in Bronze bearing two keris (Malay dagger) on the obverse were introduced.

The Board of Commissioners of Currency, Malaya and British Borneo, ceased to issue it's currency with effect from 12th June 1967. Thereafter, this function was taken over by Bank Negara Malaysia which assumed sole currency rights in Malaysia. Singapore and Brunei issued their own respective currencies through newly constituted monetary authorities.

In Malaysia, the currency of The Board of Commissioners of Currency, Malaya and British Borneo, continued to circulate side by side with the new Malaysia currency until 16th January 1969 at which date it was demonetized and thus ceased to be legal tender.

Source: Wikipedia, Saran Singh "The Encyclopaedia of the coins of Malaya Singapore and Brunei 1400-1967".