Nik Abdul Aziz, the state’s chief minister, spoke in visionary terms of an economy in which state civil servants would be paid in the new sharia currency, and the poor would be protected against inflation by the intrinsic value of the precious metals used to produce it.
About 1,000 shops and restaurants in the state have said they will accept the new currency, which follows an earlier issue of gold dinars in 2006. The coins comply with traditional Islamic teaching on the use of coins with intrinsic value as a medium of exchange, rather than paper money.
The coins, minted to a specified weight and purity, are available in a range of denominations from half a dinar to eight dinars, and from one dirham to 20. At the current price of gold, one dinar is worth M$581($183) and one dirham is valued at M$13 ($5).
The launch was lauded by the Muamalah Council, a campaigning organisation that seeks the peaceful introduction of an Islamist social and economic system. The council said it was “the main Islamic event of the last 100 years”.