Special Report: The shariah debate on Islamic financing

Zaki (fictual name) is a former civil servant who was declared bankrupt by the civil courts when he did not repay hundreds of thousands of ringgit to a bank. It all started when he was offered a bai’ bithaman ajil (BBA) scheme by a local bank to buy a new home costing RM90,485 and was expected to repay the bank over 25 years. When the unlicensed developer abandoned the project, Zaki stopped paying his monthly bank instalments. As a result, the bank recalled the facility and filed a civil suit against Zaki. The claim amount was lose to three times the buying price of the home, even though the bank had only disbursed RM36,000 to the errant developer.
His predicament is neither new nor uncommon. Many like Zaki signed up for the BBA — a home financing scheme that had been in existence for more than three decades until it was phased out in 2013 — and only learnt of the perils when they defaulted.