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Malaysian Rounding

Posted by on 13 March 2008

The days of the Malaysian 1 sen coins are numbered.

Effective 1st April, 2008, all over-the-counter payments in Malaysia shall be rounded off to the nearest 5 sen. This only applies to the total amount of the bill, not to the individual items.

According to the official website of Bank Negara Malaysia (National Bank of Malaysia) “the total amount of a bill which ends in 1, 2, 6 and 7 sen will be rounded down while the total bill which ends in 3, 4, 8 and 9 sen will be rounded up to the nearest multiple of 5 sen.” Hence, if your total bill is RM99.92, you must pay RM99.90 but if it’s RM99.93, you have to pay RM99.95.

Apparently, this is based on a method called Swedish rounding, a term that came into popular use in New Zealand in 1990 when their 1 and 2 cent coins were removed from circulation. Wikipedia says that the Reserve Bank of New Zealand adopted the same practice as Sweden when 1 and 2 öre coins were removed from circulation in 1972.

But there is a difference between Malaysian rounding and Swedish rounding. Whereas Swedish rounding only involved cash transactions, Malaysian rounding is applicable to both cash and non-cash payments made over-the-counter. Only on-line transactions are exempt.

This is a public service announcement from ;)

Postscript: I wrote this post in early February but never posted it because I intended to take a photo of the Malaysian 1 sen coin. But I never got around to doing it, so this post languished under ‘Drafts’ for more than a month.

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