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Total commemorative banknotes issued is under 1,500 pieces. If you have achieved any figures close to this, then you are doing extremely well, as many of the older commemorative notes are hard to find even in poor conditions.

Opinion: Many collectors of commemorative banknotes would have come across with those Somaliland sets overprinted with gold and silver texts with the following wordings - 5th Anniversary of Independence 18 May 1996 [Sanad Gurade 5ee Gobanimadda 18 May 1996]. I believe these are "home made" (or fake) and not authorised by the central bank. My argument is simple. No central bank would have issued an overprint commemorative banknote that the texts are so large that it would cover the two signatures on the note as well as part of the serial numbers. Even if these are genuine notes, then these could be issued as souvenir sheets and not as legal tender. As I said before, this is my opinion. If you have paid top dollars for these, please think about my argument. There is always a sucker around the corner, including me of course!

All comments are most welcome but it has to be subjects related to banknotes or banknotes collection. If not, it will not be approved. Thanks

19 January 2018

...Malaysia - 60th Anniversary of the Signing of the Federation of Malaya Independence Agreement 5.8.1957, Hybrid Note

World Records Breaking Banknote
Malaya/Malaysia (since 1963)
60th Anniversary of the Signing of the Federation of Malaya Independence Agreement

Two commemorative legal tender notes (releasing on 25.01.2018) celebrating the 60th Year of the Signing of the Federation of Malaya Independence Agreement 1957-2017. The two notes are RM60 and RM600 and were launched on 14.12.2017 by the Agong (King) of Malaysia, Sultan Muhammad V at the Museum at the Art Gallery, Bank Negara Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur. The independence agreement, dated 05.08.1957, was signed by the Malay Council of Rulers from the nine States, namely Johor, Kedah, Kelantan, Negeri Sembilan, Pahang, Perak, Perlis, Selangor and Terengganu together with the representative of Queen Elizabeth ll, Sir Donald MacGillivray, who was then the High Commissioner of the Federation of Malaya. The agreement was signed at the British Commissioner's residence in Kuala Lumpur, which then led to the independence of the Federation of Malaya on 31.08.1957.

The two notes are printed on Durasafe Hybrid materials, a composite of paper and polymer substrate. Both notes are sold with a premium and were made available to the public in 3 varieties, through a pre-order arrangement which was opened between 29.12.2017 to 19.01.2018. A small quantity of these notes with special or popular serial numbers will be sold via public auction on 10.03.2018.

60,000 pieces of RM60 single note at RM120 each;
6,000 pieces of 3-in-One uncut sheet at RM500 each; and
6,000 pieces of RM600 single note at RM1,700 each.

Based on the above, it would be reasonable to say that a minimum of 61,800 notes of RM60 printed. As this is not a large issue, it would be interesting to see if any replacement notes are printed too. All notes are printed with a special letter prefix of MRR followed by a 7 digits number. I believe MRR stands for Majlis Raja-Raja or Council of Rulers.

The designs
14-pointed federal star(i) (featured on the royal headgear), the royal throne surrounded by a victory wheat wreath, portraits of 15 Yang di-Pertuan Agong positioned in a horse shoe shape, who have reigned since independence (1957) till the present day, starting from top L to R - Abdul Rahman(ii) of Negeri Sembilan (1957-1960), Hisamuddin(ii) of Selangor (1960), Putra of Perlis (1960-1965), Ismail Nasiruddin of Terengganu (1965-1970), Abdul Halim(iii) of Kedah (1970-1975), Yahya Petra(ii) of Kelantan (1975-1979), Ahmad Shah of Pahang (1979-1984), Iskandar of Johor (1984-1989), Azlan Shah of Perak (1989-1994), Ja'afar of Negri Sembilan (1994-1999), Salahuddin(ii) of Selangor (1999-2001), Sirajuddin of Perlis (2001-2006), Mizan Zainal Abidin of Terengganu (2006-2011), Abdul Halim(iii) of Kedah (2011-2016) and Muhammad V of Kelantan (since 2016). The term for the rotating Agong is fixed for 5 years. The note is also printed with the year dates of 1957-2017.

(i) 11-pointed federal star between 1957-1984; (ii) died in office; (iii) the one and only Sultan who had served two terms (5th & 14th Agong); Note: It's too long to have all the Sultan's full names listed here. I believe only four Sultans are still alive today from the above listing.

Six Hundred Ringgit (front)
Dated 2017
Reverse - s/#s MRR 0002476, 2477, 3433
Portraits of the all nine Rulers (Sultans/Raja) signing the Federation of Malaya Independence Agreement, Tunku Abdul Rahman Putra Al-Haj, the First Prime Minister of Malaya declaring independence, the National Palace, Perdana Putra (Federal Government office), the Parliament building (August House) and the Palace of Justice which represent the four pillars of the nation: the institution of the Monarchy, the Executive, the Legislature and the Judiciary respectively.

Sixty Ringgit
Dated 2017
Information Card - Bahasa Malaysia
Information Card - English
The nine Rulers who signed the agreement were (from L-R, top to bottom):-
*Pahang - Sultan Abu Bakar Ri'ayatuddin Al-Muazzam Shah ibni Al-Marhum Sultan Abdullah Al-Mutasim Billah Shah (1932-1974);
*Negeri Sembilan - Yang Di-Pertuan Besar Tuanku Abdul Rahman ibni Almarhum Tuanku Muhammad (1933-1960). 1st Agong 1957-1960;
*Selangor - Sultan Hisamuddin Alam Shah ibni Almarhum Sultan Alaeddin Sulaiman Shah (1938-1942, 1945-1960). 2nd Agong 1960;
*Kedah - Sultan Sir Badlishah ibni Almarhum Sultan Abdul Hamid Halim Shah (1943-1958);
*Kelantan - Paduka Sri Sultan Sir Ibrahim IV Petra ibni Almarhum Sultan Muhammad IV (1944-1960);
*Perlis - Tuanku Syed Harun Putra ibni Almarhum Syed Hassan Jamalullail (1945-2000). 3rd Agong 1960-1965;
*Terengganu - Sultan Ismail Nasiruddin Shah ibni Almarhum Sultan Zainal Abidin III (1945-1979). 4th Agong 1965-1970;
*Perak - Sultan Yussuf Izzuddin Shah ibni Almarhum Sultan Abdul Jalil Karamatullah Nasiruddin Mukhataram Shah Radziallah (1948-1963);
*Johor - Sultan Sir Ibrahim Al Masyhur ibni Al-Marhum Sultan Abu Bakar Al-Khalil Ibrahim Shah (1895-1959) represented by his son, Crown Prince Ismail Al Khalidi ibni Al-Marhum Sultan Ibrahim Al-Masyhur (Sultan 1959-1981).

The signing of the agreement was based on seniority of each Ruler and despite the Sultan of Johor being the most senior Ruler then (62nd year as Sultan), his State signed last as he did not attend the signing ceremony and instead was represented by his son, the Crown Prince. At the time of the signing, the Sultan of Johor was residing in London, England. Also being the most senior Ruler, it was also reported that he rejected the offer to head the first Agong of the newly independent nation citing old age (84 years old in 1957) and at that time, he was more interested in enjoying "retirement" in England. He died two years after independence. Many historians would agree that this was the right choice for him not to accept the first Agong role, as he was very pro British then and at one time openly expressed his view against seeking full independence from the British rule in Malaya. If he had accepted this position, his portrait would have appeared on all Malaysia banknotes issued since 1967.

The next most senior Ruler was the Sultan of Pahang but he was unsuccessful in securing the minimum votes of 5 to install him as the first Agong of Malaya. It appeared that the Sultan of Pahang was not a popular person among the other Rulers. Besides missing the first opportunity, he was not elected by his peers for the same post when it became vacant in 1960 (twice), 1965 and 1970. He died in 1974. The first Agong position went to the Ruler of Negeri Sembilan, Tuanku Abdul Rahman.

This is the first time in Malaysia banknotes history since 1967 that the portraits of all Agongs (past and present) are printed on a single banknote. Since 1967, all banknotes have been printed with the portrait of the first Agong, Tuanku Abdul Rahman of Negri Sembilan.

The RM600 note is a very large size note measuring 370mm x 220mm. This is even larger than an A4 size paper, and almost the size of a standard western rectangular kitchen chopping board. The RM60 note is measured at 162mm x 84mm. The Governor's signature is Muhammad bin Ibrahim, who was appointed to the role on 01.05.2016.

1) This note is celebrating the Signing of the Federation of Malaya's Independence Agreement. The key word here is Malaya and therefore it has nothing to do with the two other States of Sabah and Sarawak which joined and formed Malaysia in 1963;
2) In my opinion, the two colours of Green and Gold do not go well together. They should have just printed this completely in yellow after all this is also one of the royal colours for most Rulers, if not for all;
3) This is a historical event and as such the design should also incorporate all 11 State Crests, just like those Malayan banknotes issued in the 50s and 60s. However I do acknowledge that some of the State Crests have changed since independence. Whilst the design on the front looks nice, unfortunately I can't say the same for the back. Perhaps a group historical photo of all rulers and the Queen's Representative would be a better choice, but then they may not want any foreigner appearing on their banknote either. The other option would be to print the map of Malaya in the middle and then surrounded by the nine Rulers signing the agreement. The national flag is also missing from the design;
4) Move over the Philippines 100,000 Piso dated 1998 P190 (size 330mm x 220mm). You are no longer the largest banknote ever issued. This 600 Ringgit is now the mother of all Kings size banknotes;
5) I always asked this question. As these are commemorative notes issued with a premium and will not be seen in general circulation apart from changing hands between dealers and collectors. Therefore why print them on Hybrid material, a mixture of paper and polymer? Why do they need this note to have a longer lifespan than those traditionally printed on cotton based paper notes? Same goes to non circulating commemorative notes printed in polymer too! Why? Unless such notes are meant for general circulation, and if not then why spend extra costs in producing them when we all know that such note will never get to see the daylight again once acquired by collectors;
6) Malaysia demonetised the two highest denominations of 500 and 1000 Ringgit on 01.07.1999 following the Asian Financial crises (AFC). AFC was started in July 1997, first in Thailand and later spread to other countries like Malaysia, the Philippines, Indonesia, Singapore and even as far north as South Korea. The AFC weakened the value of the currencies of all these nations affected and in order to control the outflow of capital that may further impact the Ringgit value, the government demonetised the two highest notes and at the same time making the Ringgit currency not negotiable outside its border. As this 600 Ringgit is a legal tender banknote, this is the first time since 1999 that a banknote issued with the face value higher that 100 Ringgit as legal tender, even though we do not expect anyone in the right mind to pull it out from their wallet/purse and do some shopping with it. But despite saying this, you will never know as "some mothers do 'ave 'me!"

Footnote: The above are my own personal opinion, and info posted here may not be entirely correct and for that I apologies for any errors, if any. If any readers think that I have made any errors here, please post your comments here.

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