Only Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) can issue currency that is legal tender, said Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak. Commenting on the Kelantan government's introduction of gold dinar and silver dirham as an alternative currency in the state, Najib said BNM would be looking into the matter to see if any laws had been broken. Friday, when launching the Syariah currency, Kelantan Menteri Besar Datuk Nik Abdul Aziz Nik Mat had said the state would strive to expand the use of the gold dinar and silver dirham in all transactions, including paying civil servants' remuneration.
"Follow the laws of the country, only Bank Negara is authorised to issue currency that is legal tender," he told reporters after handing over Ramadan aid to mosque and surau from the Pekan parliamentary constituency here Saturday. However, he said there were still many technicalities that had to be addressed by the state government over the use of the currency.
Bank Negara Malaysia giving a statement on front page of today New Straits Times said the ringgit is the only currency that is the legal tender for payment of goods and services in the country.
"Only Bank Negara has the right under the law to issue currency in Malaysia,” it told the New Straits Times in a statement yesterday.
It was responding to a move by the Kelantan state government on Thursday to make Islamic gold dinar and silver dirham an alternative currency in the state. Menteri Besar Datuk Nik Abdul Aziz Nik Mat had said the move was not against the law as it followed the central bank’s regulations.
International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed said the statement by Kelantan Menteri Besar Datuk Nik Abdul Aziz Nik Mat that the dinar and dirham would be used as alternative currencies clearly breached Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) regulations.
"I advise the Kelantan government not to do so (introduce regulations) as it likes. Whatever it wants to do must be discussed, otherwise members of the public will be confused over the jurisdiction of the Federal and State governments.
"Matters concerning currency comes under the jurisdiction of the Federal government, and not the state government, and what had been done clearly breached the country's law. We have the constitution and regulations," he told reporters after chairing the meeting of the Kelantan Umno Liaison Body, here Saturday.
Source: Bernama, New Straits Times.