Malaysia remains a forerunner in global sukuk with the global outstanding sukuk amounting to over US$148 billion as at June 2013, which represents 60.4 per cent of the total global sukuk.
Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said the number reflected Malaysia's rapid growth in sukuk compared with its number of only US$1.5 billion of global sukuk in 2001.
"Being a conducive environment for sukuk transactions, I certainly believe that Malaysia has what it takes to attract more institutions from all regions of the global aiming to tap Malaysia's Islamic finance marketplace and the pool of liquidity," he said at the opening of the 10th Kuala Lumpur Islamic Finance Forum (KLIFF 2013) today.
He said credit must be given to Bank Negara Malaysia, the Securities Commission Malaysia, Shariah scholars and the Islamic financial industry community for their efforts to bring Malaysia's Islamic finance marketplace to the current level of sophistication.
He said this was in line with the vision for a comprehensive and progressive Islamic finance marketplace, which has grown from strength to strength for over 30 years.
Muhyiddin said as Malaysia continued to grow its Islamic finance industry, there was a need to revisit and review any particular areas of divergence in order to come up with a better and more acceptable solution.
"Integrity, credibility and competency are the key success factors in developing the Shariah framework and governance. Albeit divergences of Shariah rulings, there should not be a major issue so long as they are backed by sound arguments and recognised legal methodologies," he said.
Muhyiddin, who is also Education Minister, also pointed out that
shortage of qualified experts in Islamic finance was the constraining factor for the innovation of new products and services in most countries.
"Therefore, investment in developing the key resources of the industry must be further enhanced. Heightened market awareness of the huge potential that Islamic finance offers is also urgently needed, and this can be done through research, education and training," he said.
INCIEF, which produces high-calibre practitioners and professionals in Islamic finance as well as specialists and researchers in the disciplines of Islamic finance, has so far enrolled 2,224 students from 83 countries as at July 2013, he said.
Muhyiddin also reminded Islamic banks to not be complacent and continuously strive to be the best banking system in order to attract the public, Muslims and non-Muslims alike.
"To remain relevant, Islamic banking must be robust and resilient and should continuously reposition itself if it desires the respect and recognition from the rest of the world," said the deputy minister.
KLIFF 2013, which is a two-day conference, saw about 400 delegates comprising industry players, policy makers as well as academics.-- Bernama