SINGAPORE - A set of six currency notes with designs depicting significant milestones and achievements in Singapore's history was launched on Tuesday by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.
The set, issued by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) to mark Singapore's 50th birthday, comprises one $50 note and five $10 polymer notes.
Like the current series of notes, the SG50 commemorative notes feature a portrait of Singapore's first president Yusof Ishak at the front.
But the new bills have security features that are the first of their kind to be used on a currency note, said MAS. For example, the $50 note has a security stripe featuring the numbers "1965" that switch to "2015" when held at a different angle.
The gold $50 note shows an iconic image of the late Mr Lee Kuan Yew, Singapore's first Prime Minister, at the steps of the City Hall in 1959, with a raised fist and leading the crowd with a rallying cry of "Merdeka!". The event marked the achievement of self-government by Singapore.
The back of the note features Singapore's first National Day Parade on Aug 9, 1966, and the latest new town of Punggol. The note highlights Singapore's history, transformation and future while the note's gold colour reflects the country's golden jubilee, MAS said.
The five $10 notes have a common front design and varying back designs reflecting values and aspirations such as multiracialism, meritocracy, peace and stability, strong families and active citizenry.
This Golden Jubilee year is "a time to reflect on our shared history and sacrifices of our pioneers, to reflect on the values that brought us here and pledge to preserve and uphold these values", said PM Lee, at the launch held at the MAS building at Shenton Way.
The notes were designed by four local artists and designers - Mr Chua Mia Tee, Mr Eng Siak Loy, Mr Weng Ziyan and Mr Fabian Lim.
The public can get the commemorative notes at the branches of nine major retail banks from Thursday by exchanging them at face value. These banks include DBS Bank/POSB, Oversea-Chinese Banking Corporation and United Overseas Bank. Each individual will be limited to a quota of five sets of notes.
Singaporeans will be given priority to exchange the notes from Aug 20 to Sept 30, 2015. They will have to present their identification card at the bank as proof of citizenship. The notes will be available to non-Singaporeans from Oct 1.
Dr Andrew Khoo, deputy managing director of corporate development at MAS, said: "There will be enough SG50 notes available for exchange. There is no need to rush."
A total of 20 million pieces of $50 notes and 75 million pieces of $10 notes - 15 million pieces of each design - will be printed, he added.