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Saturday, 20 July 2013

Japan offers cooperation with Malaysia in Islamic finance

Islamic finance is one key area in which Japan and Malaysia can cooperate in order to enhance relations between the two countries, deputy DG of the International Bureau, Ministry of Finance of Japan, Hiroshi Naka said in Kuala Lumpur yesterday.

The combination of Japan and Islamic finance seems very strange to some people, but for the Japanese nation, it is quite natural to engage in Islamic finance because it is a new frontier, he said.

“Islamic finance is one key area in which Japan wishes to enhance its cooperation with Malaysia.

“Japan will continue to encourage the Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ to engage in Islamic finance and supports the bank’s efforts to facilitate the use of Islamic finance in Malaysia and in Japan,” he said during the launch of the new Islamic products by the Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ (M) Bhd (BTMU).

He pointed out that one of the attache of the Japanese Embassy in Kuala Lumpur undertook a full course at the International Centre for Education in Islamic Finance, stating that this was the proof for Japan’s commitment.

Also present was Bank Negara Malaysia’s director of Islamic banking and takaful, Wan Mohd Nazri Wan Osman, who officiated the launch of the four new products.

Wan Mohd said as the country opens up as a global Islamic finance destination, Malaysia sees the BTMU engagement in the Islamic finance as a very positive move, as it is a way to optimise its platform in Malaysia. He also said the new products enhanced the bank’s involvement in the cross-border business in Islamic finance.

The products are the Istina’ Financing-i, Ijarah Financing-i, Bank Guarantee-i and the standby letter of credit-I.

The new product lines unlock new business opportunities to improve our financing and fee-based income, the CEO of BTMU Malaysia, Masato Nakamura said.

Nakamura also said BTMU intended to become an Islamic finance hub in Malaysia.

The BTMU’s operation is mainly focused on financing large corporations and Japanese companies based in Malaysia.

It launched the Islamic products to increase its fee-based income. In the past, the bank had financed a RM540.6 million Islamic syndicated project for liquefied natural gas vessel for Brunei Gas Carriers Sdn Bhd.

BTMU may establish a window for Islamic finance in Malaysia soon, but no date was given by the officials during the ceremony. It has also made headway in the Islamic financing segment, especial ly in cross-border financing.

BTMU started operations in Malaysia in 1957 and is also the longest serving Japanese bank in the country.

(The Malaysian Reserve / 18 July 2013)

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