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Saturday, 18 May 2013

Malaysia: Islamic finance moving towards greater convergence, says Zeti

KUALA LUMPUR: Islamic Finance is moving towards greater convergence with issues on harmonisation of Syariah interpretation and coordination of international policy and the governance process among industry players’ main discussion topics.

Bank Negara Governor Tan Sri Dr Zeti Akhtar Aziz said greater dialogue among scholars and greater awareness would contribute towards harmonisation in Islamic principles.

“There is already convergence of 80 per cent of the issues in the Islamic finance industry and 20 per cent of the fundamental issues are still outstanding.

“But the move is towards greater convergence,” she said at the 10th Islamic Financial Services Board (IFSB) Summit at the panel discussion on “Lessons Drawn: Prospects for the Future.”

Zeti said the IFSB, which is focusing on institution building, had established the Islamic Financial Stability Forum to allow greater engagement with the industry to share information and experience.

“The next level is the policy coordination, which comes from the international dimension and governance process,” she added.

Zeti said in Malaysia, Islamic finance has grown tremendously, with Islamic banking having grown to 23 per cent of banking system.

Meanwhile, speakers at the IFSB Summit highlighted the usefulness of Islamic finance in targetting the poor based on Islamic financial instruments that are based on risk-sharing principles.

However, there need to be more human capital development efforts to support awareness of the benefits of Islamic finance, they said.

Director-General of Islamic Research & Training Institute (IRTI), Islamic Development Bank Group, Prof. Dr Azmi Omar, said one such instrument is Islamic microfinance.

“The use of Islamic microfinance is still not substantial.

“What we need is to provide the required training and capacity building for Islamic microfinance to support small businesses,” he said.

(Berneo Post Online / 18 May 2013)

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