KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 3 (Bernama) — Deputy Finance Minister Datuk Dr Awang Adek Hussin said today several strategies must be adopted to strengthen Malaysia’s position as an international Islamic financial centre.
He said the first vital strategy would be to create dynamic syariah intellectuals who can assume an important role in responding to the government’s call to make Malaysia the reference centre for global syariah Islamic finance practice.
Awang Adek said in line with current needs, Islamic scholars should widen their horizon and not confine themselves to one field of knowledge.
“Strong economic, financial and legal knowledge should be merged with overall Syariah understanding. A combination of deep knowledge will serve as a base for Islamic financial products and services,” he said at the opening of the Fourth Islamic Finance Advisory Consultative meeting here Monday.
Awang Adek said the establishment of research institutions to promote the development of Syariah principles was still lacking in the move to achieve the desired objectives.
“Cooperation between Islamic financial institutions and public and private institutions of higher learning must be enhanced to create a second echelon of dynamic and quality scholars,” he added.
Awang Adek also said the proactive role of scholars towards Islamic financial development is a strategy towards ensuring Malaysia’s position as an international Islamic financial centre.
“Although Malaysia’s Islamic financial performance has shown encouraging development, we should not be complacent with our achievements thus far,” he said.
The Deputy Finance Minister said Islamic finance must be constantly upgraded, as such, scholars and Islamic financial experts should become the catalyst to move the industry further.
The Deputy Finance Minister also said the publication of the Syariah Parameter Reference by Bank Negara in October 2009 was a positive move to consolidate Syariah principles in Islamic finance.
He stressed the need for solid cooperation among government agencies and the private sector as an important strategy to ensure the government’s mission and vision.
The Islamic banking sector in Malaysia has recorded an encouraging growth of 22 per cent in assets, deposits and Islamic financing over the last five years, surpassing the 20 per cent target set by the Islamic Finance Masterplan.
Total assets grew to RM350.8 billion, at the end of last year, compared with RM303.26 recorded at end-2009, he added.
Malaysia is also the largest issuer of Islamic bonds in the world accounting for 66 per cent of the global Islamic bonds issues in 2010.