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NEWS UPDATES 12 August 2010

Kelantan has Islamic currency

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A Malaysian has launched the Islamic dinar and dirham as an alternative currency, allowing the golden and silver coins to be used as legal tender alongside conventional banknotes.

Authorities in northern Kelantan state, which is ruled by the Islamic opposition party PAS, said the Islamic currencies would be used in many shops in the state in addition to the national currency, the ringgit.

'We have over 1,000 shops that have signed up to our campaign and agreed to accept the dinar and dirham for the purchase of goods,' state cabinet minister Husam Musa said.

He said signboards have been erected in the main market in the state capital Kota Bharu to show the conversion table between the dinar and ringgit, and participating shops will display stickers to encourage people to use the coins.

'The response has been very positive and all the coins which were worth a total of 2 2 million ringgit have been sold out at the launch today,' said Mr Husam, who is in charge of economic and finance planning.

According to Islamic law, the dinar measures 4.25 grams of gold, while the dirham is 3.0 grams of pure silver. A golden coin is equivalent to about 582 ringgit (183 dollars) while the silver coin is worth around 13 ringgit but their values fluctuate according to market prices.

Mr. Husam said the dinar and dirham currencies can also be used dealings with state goverment agencies, such as paying 'zakat', or alms for the poor.

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