SARAN SINGH. Numismatist / Author (III)

I was looking for this CPM notes for many years.I was told this CPM notes were printed also on exercise book's paper for internal circulations in their camps in the jungle.
-Dickson Niew.


By: Saran   Singh AMN, PNM, FRNS

The Communist Party of Malaya (CPM) was established in Malaya under the leadership of Lai Teok @ Wong Kim Geok in 1930. When the Japanese captured Malaya and Singapore by February 1942, the CPM set up the Malayan Peoples Anti Japanese Army ( MPAJA ). After the Japanese surrender on 15th August 1945, the Communist Party of Malaya was virtually in control of Malaya for about three weeks until the British took full administrative control in September 1945. The MPAJA officially disbanded on 1st December 1945, but in name only. Its’ members were by then involving themselves in the political scene in Malaya.

In 1947, Chin Peng @ Ong Boon Hua took over the control of the Communist Party of Malaya (CPM) as it’s Secretary-General. He commenced terrorist activities against the British so as to drive them out of Malaya and thus establish communist rule in the country. This led to the declaration of Emergency in Malaya on 16th June 1948 by Sir Edward Gent, the British High Commissioner to Malaya. The Communist Party of Malaya was banned and thus commenced 12 years of bitter jungle warfare. The Baling peace talks in Kedah held on 28/29th December 1955 between Chin Peng, Chen Tien and Rashid Maidin of the CPM and Tunku Abdul Rahman Putra Al Haj, Tan Cheng Lock and David Marshall from the Government were a failure. Eventually, the Government’s efforts in the heart and minds campaign and the resettlement of villages in sensitive areas programme, won over the people and the communists were driven back into the jungle.

On 31st July 1960, the Malaya Emergency period came to an end and the remnants of the Communist Party of Malaya members went across the border to Southern Thailand where they continued to pose a threat to Malaya.

Finally on 2nd December 1989, the Communist Party of Malaya leaders signed a peace agreement with the Government of Malaysia at Haadyai in Southern Thailand. The CPM was represented by Chin Peng (Secretary-General), Abdullah C.D. (Chairman) and Rashid Maidin (Central Committee Member). The Malaysian Government was represented by Dato Haji Wan Sidek bin Haji Wan Abdul Rahman (Secretary General, Ministry of Home Affairs), General Tan Sri Hashim bin Mohd Ali (Chief of Defence Forces, Malaysia) and Tan Sri Mohd Haniff bin Omar (Inspector General, Royal Malaysian Police). This peace agreement was witnessed by the representatives of the government of the Kingdom of Thailand. By this agreement and consistent with their objective for peace, the Communist Party of Malaya agreed to cease all armed activities, disband all its armed units, destroy all arms, ammunition, explosives and booby traps. On its part, the Malaysian government agreed to allow the members of the CPM of Malaysian origin to settle in Malaysia and assist them to start their peaceful life afresh in accordance with the laws of Malaysia.

Private notes

In 1955, the North Johor Regional Committee ( NJRC ) of the Communist Party of Malaya issued private notes for use in areas under their control. These notes are believed to have been issued in denominations of 5 Cents, 10 Cents, 50 Cents, One Dollar and Five Dollars. These private notes were printed entirely in Chinese, translated e.g. “Yit Chiao ( 10 Cents ) or Wu Chiao ( 50 Cents ). Lou Thung Kin (Legal Tender), Ma-loy-ya Kung Ch’an Tong Jou Pei Ti Wei Hui Fat (Malayan Communist Party North Johore Regional Committee issue). Signed by Mah Lit Min, Choy Ching (Treasurer)”. The bust of Lenin with the star and sickle above. The Serial Number and the year date “ 1955 ” below. The size of the 5 Cents is 90 mm x 65 mm. These noted were printed in Black on white paper by a local printer (name unknown). All these notes are extremely rare.                                                                                                    
Reference: “Paper Money of the 20th Century” Volume I Appendix ix Pages A8 – A9
                    Published by the International Bank Note Society, U.S.A. ( 1973 )

(Approval to print this article was obtained from Polis Diraja Malaysia, Bukit Aman, Kuala Lumpur, vide their letter reference KPN 73 dated 19th September 1991).


  1. Wow, these are eye openers to us.
    First time seeing these private currencies.
    Thanks a lot for sharing, Dickson :)

  2. Tahniah dan terima kasih banyak2 Mr.Dickson,
    Depankanta sependapat dengan whycollect.Kali pertama melihat not yg sedemikian dan kali pertama membaca artikel currencies yg digunakan oleh parti Komunis Malaya....
    Terima kasih banyak2 Mr.Niew & Mr.Saran Singh

  3. Superb Mr.Dickson...i have never seen these currencies..

  4. Dear Whycollect,depankanta & Pierre,
    I was looking and asking around for this private currencies for almost four years.
    When my brother (an ex-Malayasia Royal Navy ranger)told me such items exist,I started to ask my sifu-sifu,most of the numismatists I met,people that I knew in ex-communist areas not until I met Mr. Saran Singh last year.He told me he had seen once in a photo in a book Published by the International Bank Note Society, U.S.A.and later was published in one of our MNS bulletin with the Approval to print this article was obtained from Polis Diraja Malaysia, Bukit Aman, Kuala Lumpur.I personally thanks him for his efforts to find back this article and also showed me the police approval letter.