PETALING JAYA: Malaysia’s current counterfeiting rate is at less than one part per million (ppm) of banknotes in circulation, says Bank Negara.
The central bank said it was among the lowest compared with the 12ppm in Europe, 10ppm in Australia and 8ppm in the Philippines.
The country’s rate last year was at 0.3ppm, and 0.8ppm in 2020 and 1ppm in 2019.
“Counterfeit currency is a global issue affecting almost all countries.
“Despite the low rate in Malaysia, Bank Negara takes very seriously every single case of counterfeit currency reported by the public.
“This is to ensure high integrity and continued public confidence in our currency,” it told The Star in a statement.
Bank Negara said the country’s banknotes of all denominations had numerous security features on both sides.
Some of these features are designed to be visible and known to the public such as the watermark, perfect see-through register and intaglio print (that gives the note’s surface a coarse feel) without having to use any device.
Other security features require a simple device to detect such as ultraviolet (UV) features that will glow under UV light.
The more sophisticated features require sensors that are fitted on cash-processing machines, typically used by financial institutions and registered currency processors.
Cash-processing machines used by Bank Negara at its Automated Cash Centre and five regional offices in Penang, Johor Baru, Kuala Terengganu, Kuching and Kota Kinabalu are fully capable of detecting and authenticating all security features on banknotes, ranging from the simplest to the most sophisticated.
“There are adequate security features in our currency to ensure any counterfeit banknotes will be detected and removed by financial institutions, registered currency processors and Bank Negara that undertake to process millions of pieces every day.
“The processing activities by both financial institutions and registered currency processors, which account for 70% of nationwide currency processing, are regulated and supervised by Bank Negara, in accordance with the powers under the Currency Act 2020.
“The Act allows Bank Negara to set the standards for financial institutions and registered currency processors to comply with, which is necessary in ensuring high quality and integrity of currency in circulation nationwide.
“It is highly improbable that counterfeit banknotes will pass through any processing machine, given the high standards set for currency processing and the multiple levels of security features of various sophistication embedded in the banknotes,” the central bank added.
Despite this, it is reported occasionally that some members of the public come into possession of fake currency.
As such, Bank Negara said every single case of counterfeit currency reported to the authorities would be investigated, both by the police and Bank Negara itself.
“Bank Negara will carry out examinations to determine the nature of the counterfeit and its sophistication.
“Based on data over many years, most of these fake currencies are simple counterfeits, printed using colour printers on ordinary paper and without any security features embedded,” it said.
This type of counterfeit is easily detected by any cash-processing machines used by financial institutions, registered currency processors and Bank Negara, and will be removed from circulation.
“The public too can easily detect these types of counterfeit banknotes without even using any device at all.
“All that is needed is some basic knowledge, in particular visible security features.
“Enhancing our currency with more security features will not totally eliminate counterfeit currency in circulation,” it said, adding that this could be significantly curbed if the public had basic awareness to enable them to identify immediately any fake currency on contact.
“This is the best defence against counterfeit currency.
“Bank Negara has been conducting currency education through various programmes to increase public awareness as part of an ongoing effort to curb currency counterfeiting,” the central bank added.