Islamic Finance Conference
Former Malaysian Prime Minister Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad
M. Sani Hamid, Financial Alliance's director of Wealth Management
Speaking at an Islamic Finance Conference organized by Kesuma at Raffles Convention Centre, Tun Dr. Mahathir said that Syariah compliant finance can succeed where the West has failed.
Tun Dr. Mahathir has big expectations from how the industry is likely to shape up in the region. He said, "Being unwilling to borrow large sum of money from the Western banking system has hindered the progress of the Muslims but now with the founding of Islamic banks, the Muslims can now borrow money to do business. The borrowing however, is done a slightly dfferent way from the Western banking system.
He added that the future is looking bright for Islamic banking in ASEAN, as roughly 50 per cent of the population is Muslim. With the total population of ASEAN being about half a billion and with Islamic banks being available, there is capital which is now accessible to Muslims who do not want to be involved with "ribak" (interest).
Tun Dr. Mahathir added that "And It's not just the Muslim communities in ASEAN that are tapping into the potential of Islamic finance"
Tun Dr. Mahathir also said that if Singapore should required information to grow in its Islamic banking sector, it can seek help from Malaysia which is far bigger centre of Islamic finance.
Mr. Sani Hamid, Financial Alliance's director of Wealth Management, said, " I think overall ASEAN is growing very fast in terms of Islamic finance. As you can see, Singapore and even Hong Kong slightly ouside of ASEAN are trying to be hub for Islamic finance. There is a move to attract more and more Middle Eastern funds into ASEAN to try and help with the issuance of companies" sukuks and so forth. From that point of view, we are going to see ASEAN as one of the key players where Middle Eastern money is going to come in via the Singapore or Hong Kong route."