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Wednesday August 12, 2009

Malaysia’s leadership role in Islamic finance


KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia can assert a leadership role in the world of Islamic finance as it has the standing in the Muslim world since it is one of the pioneers of the modern Islamic banking system.

Fajr Capital Ltd chief executive officer Iqbal Khan said Malaysia could assume a more assertive leadership role as it had a large amount of goodwill among Muslim nations.

He said it was Malaysia’s natural right since the country had done much in promoting Islamic banking and finance. “Islamic finance adds value and does not compete with the rest of the Malaysian economy,” Iqbal said in a panel discussion on the role of Islamic finance in the changing global landscape at the World Capital Markets symposium.

Islamic Banker editor Mushtak Parker said there was potential for Muslim nations such as Saudi Arabia and Malaysia to raise Islamic finance issues to the mainstream agenda at international forums.

“In the April G-20 summit in London, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Indonesia were represented but not one of them brought up issues relating to Islamic finance,” he said.

He said there was a need for the 10 economically important Muslim nations to come together in a G-7 type summit to discuss issues that were important to the industry.

“There must be decision making at the political level,” he added.

However, panel members agreed that Islamic finance was not the solution for the global financial crisis that reached its peak last September with the bankruptcy of Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc.

Parker said it was important not to present Islamic finance as the panacea to the troubles affecting the global financial system as the industry was still at an infancy stage.

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