4TH BRANCH OVERSEAS: To facilitate Khazanah’s exposure into Middle East and African countries
MALAYSIA'S state investment arm Khazanah Nasional Bhd is due to officially open its fourth overseas office in Istanbul today, managing director Tan Sri Azman Mokhtar said late Tuesday here.
The office which will facilitate Khazanah's exposure into the Middle East and African countries, will be officiated by Turkish deputy Prime Minister Ali Babacan.
Azman said Khazanah's first area of investment has always been in the Asian region but Turkey and Africa, which he said are Khazanah's second focus area have always been on its radar for quite some time.
Having a presence nearby, he said, was only logical and Khazanah had waited for the Turkish lira to stabilise a little before it finalised the opening of the new office.
Khazanah's other offices overseas are in the United States, China and India.
Azman said this at the CEO Panel session titled "Doing Business in a Changing World" at the 9th World Islamic Economic Forum here where he touched on Khazanah's philosophy of doing business and how the investment arm has trebled its portfolio in just nine years.
He said the world of business has no doubt changed in recent times and corporations are constantly challenged to adapt to these changes while at the same time, strive to practice good governance and fair dealings.
"The demand for businesses now is not just about to make money but also be corporately responsible. If before the demand was for us to do no harm, now above all that, we must also do good as well."
Asked to comment by the moderator - CNN business correspondent Juliet Mann - on Malaysia's ability to export its Islamic finance success to other states, an industry she described as one that "flourishes alongside Malaysia's conventional banking," his respond was: "Islamic finance is not flourishing alongside conventional banking anymore but it is on top of it as a bulk of our new issuances are now shariah-compliant. In Malaysia, we are already in our third wave of Islamic finance development."
He pointed out that the period of Islamic finance growing side by side with conventional was in the mid 1980s and it further grew a decade later which saw the development of Malaysia's infrastructure like highways and power plants being funded by the Islamic capital market.
Now, he said is the third wave where Islamic finance is moving from being just about syariah-compliant to looking at ways of using Islamic finance as an equity-based finance.
Azman, however, pointed out that although Islamic finance never had a role in causing the current financial turmoil because it practices ethical finance, it is yet to be fully part of the solution.
"It is still work in progress and to me the way to apply finance is to drive business and not as an end in itself."