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Thursday, 17 May 2012

Islamic banks urged to be 'entrepreneur-friendly'

BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN - Islamic banks should be more "entrepreneur-friendly", said His Royal Highness Prince Hj Al-Muhtadee Billah, the Crown Prince and Senior Minister at the Prime Minister's Office, by offering a variety of Syariah-compliant financing methods that will help Muslim businesses become successful.

"Such efforts support His Majesty's wishes to enhance the 'Ease of Doing Business' in the country," he said at the International Conference on Islamic Finance held at the Rizqun International Hotel yesterday.

In a sabda, the crown prince said while the industry must fulfil the tenets of Syariah law, it must still be able to compete with the conventional finance industry to offer customers benefits, particularly those that require financing facilities.

He also mooted the creation of a regulatory system for the Islamic finance industry with comprehensive legislation and guidelines to support it.

"Regulations and legislation in the conventional financial system still need to be improved and upgraded," he said.

"At the same time, we need to create a regulatory system with comprehensive rules and legislation (within the Islamic finance industry)."

HRH lauded Universiti Islam Sultan Sharif Ali (UNISSA) for organising the "timely" event, encouraging scholars and experts from the region to come up with sound solutions to further develop the Islamic finance system.

Quoting statistics, the crown prince noted that the industry is undergoing rapid growth with assets valued at US$1.1 trillion - at an annual growth rate of 15 to 20 per cent - and is predicted to reach US$2 trillion in three to five years.

With public confidence in conventional finance shaken after the global economic crisis, and many countries still in a fragile financial state, Islamic finance offers an alternative to investors, he said.
The three-day conference will host scholars and experts from Brunei, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia and Kenya and is jointly organised by UNISSA and the International Shari'ah Research Academy for Islamic Finance, Malaysia.

(Asia One Business / 16 May 2012)

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