Anyone remember this? Half a century (50 years) ago, Brunei, Malaysia and Singapore shared a common currency - valuing at the same rates with each others. At that time, they were of 5 separate entities; Brunei, British Malaya, British Strait Settlements, British North Borneo, and Sarawak.
The Straits Dollar was introduced in 1904 to be the currency for the Strait Settlements (which consisted of Singapore, Malacca, Penang and Dinding), the Federated Malay States and the Unfederated Malay States, and Brunei. It however, can also be used in Sarawak and British North Borneo.
Prior to this, the Malay States used the British Trade Dollar, the Strait Settlements used the Indian Rupee (being governed directly from the office in India), and Brunei used the Brunei Pitis.
The Straits Dollar depicting UK King George V
Sarawak had its own currency since 1858, known as the Sarawak Dollar
While the British North Borneo also had its own currency, the British North Borneo Dollar since 1882. The British North Borneo is today known as Sabah.
In 1939, the Straits Dollar was replaced by the Malayan Dollar, which became the official currency for the Strait Settlements, British Malaya and Brunei. The currency was temporarily interrupted in World War 2, in which the Japanese issued the famous Japanese 'Banana notes'.
The Malayan Dollar, depicting UK King George VI
In 1953, the British decided to merge everything into one, replacing the Malayan Dollar with the Malaya and British Borneo Dollar. The Sarawak Dollar and the British North Borneo Dollar were then retired. The new currency became the official currency in Brunei, Malaya, Singapore, British North Borneo, and Sarawak.
The Malaya and British Borneo Dollar, depicting UK Queen Elizabeth II
In 1957, Malaya gained independence from UK, and in 1963 Malaysia was formed, with Singapore expelled in 1965. By 1967, the three countries (Brunei, Malaysia and Singapore) began to issue their own currencies. The Malaya and British Borneo Dollar officially came to an end in 1969.
The three countries however, signed a currency interchangeable agreement putting their currencies at par with each other (SGD$1 = RM1 = BND$1) In 1973, Malaysia, the largest economy of the three, decided to terminate the agreement. Brunei and Singapore continue with the Agreement until today. In 2007, Brunei and Singapore celebrated their 40 years anniversary of the currency interchangeable agreement. Today SGD$1 = BND$ = RM2.4
Brunei & Singapore Dollar depicting the 40 yrs anniversary of currency interchangeability agreement - 2007
For 50 years now, we take a look back at Brunei, Malaya, British North Borneo, Sarawak and Singapore, with British North Borneo and Sarawak joining Malaya to form Malaysia while Brunei and Singapore go their own ways.
The time when Brunei, M'sia & S'pore, shared one currency