Tuesday October 28, 2008
Plans to make Shah Alam international Islamic banking hub
By LAW KAI CHOW
SHAH ALAM: The Selangor government plans to turn Shah Alam into an international Islamic banking and financial centre, in the wake of slower growth in the state’s manufacturing sector.
Mentri Besar Tan Sri Abdul Khalid Ibrahim said greater competition from lower labour cost countries had caused the state to make the services sector its leading engine of growth, with focus on information and communications technology (ICT), tourism and Islamic finance.
“We want Middle East investors seeking investment opportunity in Asia to consider Malaysia as the Islamic financial hub because we can fulfil their requirements in terms of technology and expertise in syariah-compliant banking infrastructure, accounting and legal framework.
“We will embark on the setting up of an Islamic banking and financial centre by the second half of next year if the world market volatility has subsided (by then),” he said after the launching of i-City International Park Shah Alam yesterday.
A RM2bil project by I-Bhd, i-City sits on 72-acre freehold land in Shah Alam with state-of-the-art infrastructure and facilities such as super broadband with 20mbps speed, dual source of power supply and high performance integrated data centres. It has been endorsed as a MSC Malaysia Cybercentre, tourist destination and now an International Park.
The first phase of i-City, involving 44 office units, has been completed and sold with 50% bought by Al Rajhi, a Saudi Arabian banking group.
i-City has also attracted tenants from Britain and Singapore.
Local Government, Research and Studies Committee chairman Ronnie Liu said to qualify for International Park status, the development had to be of international class, in terms of buildings and ICT systems.
Meanwhile, Khalid announced that I-Bhd had committed a RM10mil fund for the next three years to work with the Selangor tourism unit to establish i-City and Shah Alam as “the focal point for ICT-related tourism destination.”
Tourism, Consumer Affairs and Environment Committee chairman Elizabeth Wong said the additional fund created a win-win situation because I-Bhd would be able to showcase its technology while the state government could attract investment and tourist into Selangor.