Thursday, November 13, 2008

‘Time to globalize Islamic finance concepts’

KUALA LUMPUR: Islamic finance needs to quickly integrate itself into the international financial system and prove that it is a viable alternative to conventional banking, the prime minister said yesterday. By transforming itself into an essential element of global finance, he said Islamic finance would surely end its perceived position as a niche or boutique service.

However, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi added that for it to effectively complement global finance, a sound legal framework, which would provide it with the credibility it required was crucial. “The consistent application of syariah must form the basis of all transactions, be it domestic or international.

"Practitioners of Islamic finance would do well to utilize the Islamic concept of hikmah (wisdom) to ensure successful reforms at the international level," he said in his speech at the official launch of Standard Chartered Saadiq Bhd, the Islamic finance subsidiary of Standard Chartered Bank Malaysia Bhd.

StanChart's Saadiq to boost Islamic assets

Abdullah said Malaysia was positioned to lead an attempt to reform global banking by infusing concepts and themes from Islamic finance. He said the country was ready to act as a knowledge centre for Islamic finance and pointed to the International Centre for Education in Islamic Finance (Inceif) and the International Shari’ah Research Academy (Isra) as examples of Malaysia's commitment to developing the specialty.

Abdullah also said Islamic finance was one area where the world's Muslims could forge vital links with non-Muslims. "In business, we are poised on the brink of an old way of life which is dying and a new way of life that is in the process of being born.

"Behind lies an industrial and financial age that lavished wealth, but left the planet polluted and societies fragmented.

"I firmly believe that there exists tremendous opportunities for Islamic finance to come to the fore to lead the financial fraternity into a new growth era." -- By: Marc Lourdes, NST

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