About 14 million pieces of S$50 commemorative SG50 notes and 43 million pieces of S$10 notes are sitting in the banks unwanted. This figure is a disappointing 60% of the total SG50 notes issued by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS).
During the launch of SG50 notes in Aug 2015, there were long queues for the SG50 notes because the MAS created a false sense of supply shortage by limiting five sets of notes per transaction. MAS panicked when they realize the SG50 notes were not in demand at all and quickly removed the limit in Dec 2015.
A key reason behind the death of SG50 notes is that the sizes are incompatible with bank deposit machines and is hence unacceptable for daily transactions.
Despite the government’s effort to capitalize on Lee Kuan Yew’s death and promote a fictitious sense of national identity via the SG50 campaign, Singaporeans have expressed little or no interest at all. However the ruling party PAP did manage to secure its highest vote count ever at 69.8% in the Sep election as the incumbent focused on the recently-deceased Lee Kuan Yew and reminding the electorate of his past efforts.