Malaysia gained independence from the British Empire in 1957 and established a central bank known as Bank Negara Malaysia in 1959. The country continued to utilise Malaya and British North Borneo coins until 1967 when the Bank finally began to produce its own currency.
The new Malaysian Dollar replaced the Malaya and British Borneo dollar at par. The first series of coins came in the denominations 1 Sen, 5 Sen, 10 Sen, 20 Sen, and 50 Sen followed closely behind by the introduction of a 1 Ringgit piece in 1971. The series was designed by Englishman Geoffrey Colley and was quite basic and uniform across denominations. The obverse depicts the Malaysian Houses of Parliament and the federal star and crescent moon of the Malaysian flag. The 1 Sen piece was produced from bronze and later steel clad copper, while the other pieces were all produced from cupronickel.
The second series of sen pieces were introduced in late 1989. These coins were completely redesigned by Low Yee Kheng. The obverse was changed to house a range of items from Malaya culture, including a Rebana (musical instrument), Gasing (spinning top), Congkak (board game), Tepak Sireh (container for betel leaf and other goods), and a Kris (type of dagger). The reverse was also altered and made to include a depiction of the national flower of Malaysia, the Bunga Raya.
The third series of sen piece was introduced in January 2012. The new series once again features a substantial redesign, this time with the goal of reflecting the diversity of Malaysia's national identity. There was also a substantial shift in the coins composition, with the 5 and 10 Sen pieces being produced from Stainless Steel, the 20 sen from Nickel Brass, and the 50 Sen from Nickel Brass clad Copper.