It’s a Sen-sible move. The cost of the Malaysia one Sen coin is too much to bear compared to the value of its use.
Similar to the U.S. Lincoln penny, Malaysia’s smallest coin costs more to make than its worth and its buying power has made the coin less attractive in day-to-day usage.
While the U.S. is considering metal composition changes to reduce the penny cost and is ramping up a Lincoln commemorative coin program starting in 2009, the Malaysian government, like so many others already have, is phasing their smallest coin out.
The one sen will continue to be legal tender. However, by April 1, 2008, Malaysian retailers will begin rounding up or down the total payment due on any over-the-counter transactions. By rounding to the nearest five sen, the usage of the one sen and the need to produce it will evaporate.
Once that’s accomplished, a future decision can be made on whether to demonetize it.
Should the U.S. follow Malaysian’s lead and eliminate the Lincoln penny?
Is Malaysian’s policy something the U.S. and its citizens will watch, learn and follow? If history is any lesson, not any time soon. As mentioned before, many countries have already gone down the path of removing their smallest coin. The U.S. position hasn’t changed.
There’s both good and bad in that. There’s something positive to say in a society that’s willing to lose money over the emotions and memories the Lincoln penny invokes.
However, it’s not easy to argue against the fact that the Lincoln cent is currently costing the U.S. money that could be spent better elsewhere and for good.