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Wednesday, 22 August 2007

Malaysia is ready to help Thai Islamic banking


(Bernama, 22 Aug 07) -- Malaysia is ready to provide technical assistance in setting up an Islamic bank in Thailand, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi said Wednesday."Malaysia will introduce Islamic banking in southern Thailand and Bangkok," the prime minister told reporters after the annual consultation between Malaysia and Thailand here.He said the effort would begin with the development of the Islamic windows in the existing banks."And this of course depends on how the government responds to the situation in southern Thailand. I understand that they have some kind of licence to set up an Islamic bank but that is not a problem," he said. Abdullah and his Thai counterpart, Surayud Chulanont, had an hour-long meeting.Abdullah said many areas of cooperation could be developed between the two countries, including economic and investment as well as education."I'm very happy with the outcome of yesterday's meeting and the annual consultation today," he said, adding that the meetings were centred on deepening bilateral relations between Malaysia and Thailand.Meanwhile, Surayud, told the joint press conference that there would be further discussions on the cooperation in Islamic banking in the near future."We will have discussions between banks of Thailand and Malaysia in the very near future," he said.There should not be any problem in establishing the Islamic Bank in Thailand, he added."Thanks to Abdullah for his keen interest in providing everything that we would like to do in the future. This is the most important way of working closely together in the next 50 years," he said.

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Note: There is already an Islamic bank in Thailand i.e Islamic Bank of Thailand (IBT) which was launched by the former Prime Minister Thaksin in 2003 (he is now residing in UK, the new owner of Manchester City football club). I had the opportunity to attend the opening ceremony of IBT held at BITEC in Bangkok. The Grand Mufti of Thailand was present also at the ceremony.- Editor

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