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Wednesday, 5 December 2007

Malaysia Ready To Work With Hong Kong On Islamic Banking

HONG KONG, Nov 30 (Bernama) -- Malaysia is ready to work with international financial hub Hong Kong on Islamic banking, Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said today.

He had earlier met the city's Chief Executive, Donald Tsang, in the course of his three-day working trip to meet fund managers.

"In my meeting with Tsang, he did raise the matter. I have given him a positive reply, that we are ready to work with Hong Kong to promote Islamic banking here," he told a news conference.

Hong Kong last week approved the setting up of its first syariah-compliant fund, joining the competition to gain a slice of the lucrative Islamic finance market estimated at between US$700 billion and US$1 trillion.

Najib said the fund managers were also greatly interested in Islamic banking because Malaysia as the frontrunner had developed a whole range of products and services.

He pointed out that 66 percent of global Islamic bonds or sukuk in value terms were issued in Malaysia.

With more players getting into the market, he said, Malaysia will strive to maintain its edge by training more human resources and encouraging its institutions to use Islamic banking.

"We also have an edge in the strong leverage that we have in the Middle East which other countries may not have," he added.

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