Holiday abroad ends on sour note for Bruneian

National 2 minutes, 20 seconds


WHAT should have been a pleasant overseas holiday last week for a Bruneian ended on a sour note when she was turned away from a shop after attempting to use what was discovered to be a counterfeit Malaysian currency note.

The 51-year-old woman, preferring to remain anonymous, was holidaying in Kuala Lumpur recently during Malaysia's ongoing year-end sales when the incident happened.

“Several days after I changed some money at a moneychanger in Semua House (a shopping complex in Kuala Lumpur), I used the cash to buy some clothes at a nearby store. When I paid using a RM100 note, the cashier (who was mute) returned the note, giving me a thumbs down,” said the woman in a telephone interview yesterday with The Brunei Times.

Confused, the woman's daughter inspected the note and saw that the watermark of the Malaysian Agong’s face looked clearly different from that on other notes. The daughter exclaimed that it looked “like a cartoon”, referring to its funny appearance.

The woman, hailing from Bandar Seri Begawan, was certain that the declined note was received from the said moneychanger, since the cash exchanged there was kept in a separate purse used only on the day she shopped at the nearby store.

She further recalled that the exchange did not go smoothly as she was initially given a wrong rate for her mix of Bruneian and Singaporean currency.

“When I pointed out the mistake in the rate, instead of giving me the balance owed, the changer swiftly took the ringgit from me and gave me a new wad of currency with a new receipt. I counted this quickly and did not notice the fake note,” said the woman, who suspects that the teller knew what he was doing as he didn't make any eye contact during the transaction.

Asked why she did not return to raise the issue with the moneychanger, the woman said she left the matter alone due to several concerns.

The experience having spooked them, they returned home immediately in a nervous state.

“It was no use to confront the moneychanger… I was alone at the time with my daughter and didn't want to risk any trouble as I felt it could turn dangerous. Secondly, I was afraid that we could be suspected of trying to pull a trick. We were foreigners and this was their turf,” she said.

She added that her family members are regular visitors to Semua House but the particular moneychanger in question was fairly new.

Despite feeling cheated, the woman wanted to share her story as a reminder to Bruneians on holidays to be careful and inspect their money after transacting with moneychangers.

She is also considering lodging a police report in Brunei if it can help prevent similar incidents.

The Brunei Times