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Sunday, 24 August 2014

Malaysia: Islamic finance needs more talent, says DPM

THE growing number of local public and private universities offering Islamic finance and muamalat programmes is an encouraging sign as the rapid growth of the industry can only be sustained with a continuous supply of talents.
Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said with student enrolment in Islamic finance programmes rising each year, there is a growing need to recruit highly qualified lecturers and trainers to develop talents at universities and colleges as they will lay the foundation of Islamic finance education.
“This will ensure a brighter future for our financial industry, as it will be the main beneficiaries of well-trained graduates,” said Muhyiddin, who is also the education minister, when launching the International Council of Islamic Finance Educators (ICIFE), here, yesterday.
He credited Bank Negara Malaysia, Securities Commission Malaysia, syariah scholars and 
the Islamic financial industry for elevating the country’s Islamic finance marketplace to the current level of sophistication.

He pointed out that the Malaysian Islamic banking sector has continued to outperform the conventional banking sector with average annual asset growth rate of 18.6 per cent from 2008 to 2012, against 9.3 per cent growth in the same period for the conventional banking segment.
On a global level, Malaysian Islamic banking assets, including development finance institutions (DFIs), has a 13 per cent share of the total global Islamic banking assets, behind Iran and Saudi Arabia.
Regionally, Malaysian Islamic banking assets make up more than 85 per cent of total in Southeast Asia’s Islamic banking industry, Muhyiddin said.
He said Malaysia also remains at the forefront in sukuk bonds, also known as Islamic debt issuance.
Sukuk has been the preferred financing structure for infrastructure projects and investments in key sectors such as utilities, healthcare, transportation and education, both locally and abroad.
He said it is a fact that one of the challenges faced by Islamic finance worldwide is the inadequate supply of talents and professionals who are equipped with both syariah and product knowledge.
“In this respect, we acknowledge the role played by Bank Negara Malaysia in setting up institutions such as Islamic Banking and Finance Institute Malaysia (IBFIM), The Global University of Islamic Finance (INCEIF), Asian Institute of Finance (AIF) and International Shariah Research Academy for Islamic Finance (ISRA) to train and provide financial industry executives and managers with the knowledge on Islamic finance and syariah best practices.
“The Malaysian Securities Commission, along with the Securities Industry Development Corporation (SIDC), have also stepped forward in developing talents through their Islamic capital market graduate training scheme,” Muhyiddin added.

The ICIFE was set up by a taskforce comprising Bank Negara, International Islamic University of Malaysia, Education and Higher Learning Ministry, INCEIF and the Asian Institute of Finance AIF.
(Business Times / 22 August 2014)
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