PARLIAMENT | Deputy Finance Minister Mohd Shahar Abdullah today offered to change an MP's counterfeit RM50 note with a real one.
Bank Negara's guidelines, however, state that fake notes can't be exchanged for real ones. Knowingly trading fake notes is also an offence under the Penal Code.
Shahar's offer came after Jalaluddin Alias (BN-Jelebu) [above, left] complained during question time that he had received a fake RM50 note at a night market and said this was proof of the widespread circulation of counterfeit money.
"Please give me the (fake) RM50 that you have, and we will change it for a real ringgit note," Shahar (above, right) replied
Dr Xavier Jayakumar (Harapan-Kuala Langat) then interjected, asking if changing fake notes for real ones was allowed by Bank Negara.
The deputy minister then responded saying that it was a "personal" remark.
Jayakumar: This is Parliament, there are no personal views.
Speaker Azhar Harun: We have to be fair, he did not say (whether this is Bank Negara's stance or his personal one).
Shahar: I did not say (this was Bank Negara's stance). Kuala Langat wanted to ask about Bank Negara procedures and when I answered, surely I am responsible for what I say, and I hope Kuala Langat is also responsible for what he says.
Shahar then sat down and the House proceeded to the next question.
According to guidelines on Bank Negara's website, recipients of counterfeit money are urged to notify and surrender the fake notes to the police.
"Using or returning counterfeit banknotes is just as illegal as manufacturing it. Counterfeit banknotes are not eligible for replacement," say the guidelines.
Knowingly exchanging fake currency is punishable under Section 498B of the Penal Code.
The law reads: "Whoever sells to or buys or receives from any other person, or otherwise traffics in or uses as genuine, any forged or counterfeit currency note or banknote, knowing or having reason to believe the same to be forged or counterfeit, shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to twenty years, and shall also be liable to fine".
Section 489C of the Penal Code also makes it illegal to knowingly possess fake currency, with a punishment of up to 10 years in jail.