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Wednesday, 13 August 2008

Malaysia to strengthen position as Islamic financial hub

Source: The Star/by Law Kai Chow

KUALA LUMPUR: The Malaysia International Islamic Financial Centre (MIFC) global communications campaign will strengthen the nation’s position as an international Islamic financial hub in all segments of the Islamic financial system.

Bank Negara governor Tan Sri Dr Zeti Akhtar Aziz said the campaign was targeting industries in the economic sectors and professionals and practitioners with interest in the Islamic financial services industry.

“Malaysia presents itself as a meeting place for those with surplus funds and those who seek to raise funds from any part of the world,” she said at the three-day Malaysia Islamic Finance (MIF) 2008 Issuers and Investors Forum, in conjunction with the launching of the campaign yesterday.

Zeti said as an Islamic financial hub, the Islamic intermediaries were supported by institutions of learning for human capital development in Islamic finance.

The MIF forum was launched in August 2006 as part of Malaysia’s efforts to strengthen its economic and Islamic financial connectivity with the rest of the world. Since then, even traditional financial centres such as Hong Kong, Singapore and London had intensified their participation in the Islamic financial system.

Zeti said that last year, the global sukuk market experienced exceptional growth by more than 70%. New issues during the year rose to a record US$47bil and the outstanding global sukuk market was now more than US$100bil.

Despite the more challenging international financial environment from the financial crisis that occurred in a number of advanced economies in the recent 12 months, she said the sukuk market was affected to a lesser extent.

“Up until June 2008, it has held its ground with a total global issuance exceeding US$10bil,” she said.

She added that greater recognition of the sukuk market as a competitive and attractive form of financing would see this market continuing to grow.

Zeti also said that the country’s Islamic financial hub was built on a comprehensive and progressive financial system which was developed over the past 30 years.

Activities in the the Islamic financial system had become vibrant, in particular the sukuk market, and in the other wholesale Islamic financial transactions.

“Going forward, Malaysia will collaborate with other financial centres with the aim of strengthening the inter-linkage in the global Islamic financial system,” she said.

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