National News Agency of Malaysia

Malaysia On Track To Become International Islamic Financial Hub

Malaysia is on track to become an international Islamic financial hub, Deputy Finance Minister Datuk Ahmad Maslan said. He said according to the Bank Negara Annual Report, Malaysia was ranked second after Saudi Arabia in Islamic banking with the total Islamic financial assets reaching RM599.5 billion, financing (RM408.1 billion) and deposits (RM472.1 billion). Ahmad said Malaysia was also ranked second after Saudi Arabia in takaful (Islamic insurance), while in the global sukuk market, Malaysia was ranked first with the United Arab Emirates trailing in the second place.

Islamic Banking Industry Should Include The Poor, Says Don

The Islamic banking industry needs to take more meaningful steps to benefit the poor, says Universiti Sains Islam Malaysia (USIM) Economics and Muamalat Faculty Dean Assoc. Prof. Dr. Amir Shaharuddin. Amir said although microfinance is still new in this country, in Indonesia, Sudan, Bangladesh and Pakistan it has given the poor a chance to take part in the Islamic banking system. He said many wakaf funds and parcels of wakaf land in Malaysia are not effectively managed, and the full potential of wakaf assets has yet to be realised. The situation could improve with with more professional management, he said, citing the substantially higher zakat collection now with better management.

Bank Islam Expects 20 Per Cent Growth In Financing This Year

Bank Islam Malaysia expects a 20 per cent growth in its financing activities this year, says Managing Director, Datuk Seri Zukri Samat. He said this would be slightly lower compared with the 25 per cent growth registered last year. Zukri added that this was probably impacted by some of Bank Negara Malaysia's measures to slow down the debt growth in the household sector. On its aim to become Malaysia's first mega Islamic bank, he said the bank was open to any merger and acquisition proposal but is not in talks with any party at this point in time. Towards this end, he said the bank was looking for synergies to complement the areas that the Islamic bank is lacking, for instance, corporate banking.

Islamic Wealth Management As A Way Of Life

Islam itself encourages its adherents to be wealthy so that they can use their wealth to help others. A wealthy society has the means to make others wealthy too. The wealth gathering should continue not only for those who are still struggling to be rich, but also for people who are already wealthy because it is a prerequisite for a holistic success in this life and the hereafter. This process is called "wealth management". Unlike conventional wealth management, there are four stages in Islamic wealth management. These consist of wealth creation, accumulation, protection and distribution. This wealth management knowledge should be learnt early in life, especially so when the person has an income, although one is still far from being rich.

Greater Collaboration Vital To Internationalise Islamic Finance

Collaboration between Islamic finance market players must be strengthened further in the effort to ensure continuous growth of the industry, especially in the international arena, said Kamarul Ariffin Mohd Jamil, Chief Executive Officer of Affin Islamic Bank Bhd. He also highlighted the fact that interest to venture into the Islamic finance industry has been expressed by non-Muslim countries such as Germany, Luxembourg, France, Australia, South Korean and Japan. The establishment of market infrastructure and regulatory frameworks in these countries are currently at various stages of development, he added. Moreover, the industry needs more professionals who are conversant and well trained in Islamic banking and finance.

Bank Islam Eyes RM500 Million Deposit In Next Al-Awfar Campaign

Bank Islam Malaysia Bhd is targeting to achieve a total of 140,000 savings and investment accounts with total deposits of RM500 million in its next Al-Awfar campaign. The campaign will likely be held in the second half of this year until year-end. Following this, the bank would have a total of one million Al-Awfar accounts with total deposits of RM2.5 billion. For the next Al-Awfar campaign, more than half a million ringgit is planned to be spent on advertising and promotion. To participate, new customers are required to open accounts with a minimum deposit of RM1,000 while existing Al-Awfar account holders can top up with a minimum deposit of RM1,000. Depositors have to maintain a minimum balance of RM1,000 in their accounts at all times for a four-month period to entitle them to take part in the campaign.

The Role Of Waqaf In Community Development

When mentioning waqaf, the benefaction for religious or public purpose, the general perception is that one has to donate land to build surau (prayer hall) or to be used as burial ground. However, there is more than this to waqaf as it could also serve as a mechanism or instrument to restructure or develop a community. In Malaysia, the properties donated under waqaf is administered by trustees, namely the state religious and customary councils. They later develop the properties for the benefit of Muslims. Although today the waqaf concept has been expanded to include donating cash and shares apart from land, the concept remains limited. Therefore, there's a need for information campaigns, better understanding and transparent waqaf institutions that carry out their duties in the right manner.

AmIslamic Bank Berhad Paves The Way As Malaysia's First Issuer Of Basel III-Compliant Tier 2 Sukuk

AMMB Holdings has announced that its Islamic banking arm, AmIslamic Bank has on 28 February 2014 successfully issued its inaugural issuance of RM200.0 million Basel III-compliant Tier 2 Subordinated Sukuk Murabahah. The issuance is also Malaysia's first Basel III-compliant Tier 2 Subordinated Sukuk issuance and the world's first Basel III-compliant Tier 2 Subordinated Sukuk to be issued under the Shariah principle of Murabahah based on commodity trading (via a Tawarruq arrangement).

Great Eastern Takaful Aims To Be Profitable By End-December

Great Eastern Takaful aims to be profitable by end-December and be among the top three players in the local takaful business, according to Chief Executive Officer Zafri Ab Halim. The company has registered growth which was mainly attributed to improvements from its corporate agency and bancatakaful channel. Great Eastern Takaful will continue growing its agency distribution via direct and dual agency as a key distribution channel as well as develop and launch products catered primarily for the Muslims' market. The joint-venture company between Great Eastern Holdings Ltd unit, I Great Capital Holdings Sdn Bhd and Koperasi Angkatan Tentera (M) Bhd, yesterday changed its status from a private to a public entity in line with the requirement of the Islamic Financial Services Act 2013.

Al Rajhi Bank Appoints Syed Maqbul Quader As Chairman

Al Rajhi Bank Malaysia has appointed Syed Maqbul Quader as Chairman effective Nov 6, 2013. Syed Maqbul, 64, has served as an independent non-executive director of the bank from Aug 1 this year. He holds a Bachelor of Commerce from Dhaka University and has over 40 years' experience in the banking industry. He was involved in establishing the Corporate Banking Group at Al Rajhi Bank in Saudi Arabia and also the Offshore Banking Unit of Chase Manhattan Bank in Bahrain. According to Al Rajhi Bank Chief Executive Officer Datuk Azrulnizam Abdul Aziz, Syed Maqbul's international exposure in particular will be highly relevant for the bank in its aspiration to be the preferred Islamic financial services bank.

Securities Commission Aims To Position Country As Islamic Wealth Management Centre

The Securities Commission (SC) aims to position Malaysia as an Islamic wealth management centre, a target that is highly feasible because of the country's high savings rate. Steps are being taken to create a certain number of intermediaries in the area. As of July 2013, there were 19 licensed Islamic fund management companies in Malaysia. The country's assets under management of Islamic funds are expected to hit RM322 billion by 2020 from RM80 billion end-2012. Generating broader approach with regional countries can help Malaysia to continue innovating and expanding the Islamic market place.

Takaful Ikhlas To Focus On Group Insurance Schemes To Educate Malay Clients

Takaful Ikhlas will focus on group insurance schemes in efforts to educate more Malay clients on the importance of Islamic insurance policy and protection coverage. President and Chief Executive Officer Ab Latiff Abu Bakar said the Islamic insurance penetration rate by the Malays in the country was only 12 per cent. Of the 88 per cent of the Malay market for Islamic insurance protection which have not been penetrated, the company is aiming to secure up to 10 per cent next year, driven by would-be-launched new group schemes and existing group insurance policies, he said. Takaful Ikhlas is targeting RM10 million returns in the next five years from its group insurance schemes. Ab Latiff said Takaful Ikhlas was also confident of netting RM2 million worth of sales this year from RM1.5 million last year, aided by the appointment of more agents, up to 50, and improved marketing strategies.

Takaful Ikhlas Allocates RM200,000 For CSR Programmes During Ramadan

Takaful Ikhlas allocates close to RM200,000 to carry out its corporate social responsibility (CSR) programmes for the whole month of Ramadan. On July 11, the company contributed RM16,000 to the Al-Ikhlas Home of Elderly Care and Treatment in Puchong, Selangor through its Ramadan programme. Besides this contribution, other daily necessities are also provided including medicine, clothing, food as well as other needs to manage the home.Earlier, 66 residents of the home received free health examinations before attending a special religious class by the company's employees besides a get-together session and iftar dinner. Various activities have been planned during Ramadan such as the exclusive cooperation 'Titipan Kasih Harian Metro' at Olak Lempit, 'Bubur Lambuk' programme, 'Salam Sahur', 'Kasih Syawal', health examination for chronic patients and 'Jom Beli Baju Raya', which will be held nationwide.

Bank Islam Expects Campaign To Boost Al-Awfar Savings & Investment Account

Bank Islam Malaysia Bhd (BIMB) expects its 'Dream-of-a-Lifetime' campaign, starting today to Sept 30, 2013, to increase the customers' uptake of the Al-Awfar Savings and Investment account. Just as in the previous campaign, the latest promotional initiative also offers Al-Awfar customers the opportunity to win cash prizes of up to RM1 million. To be eligible for the draw, the account holders needed to maintain a minimum balance of RM1,000 in their accounts until Dec 31, 2013. Each RM1,000 deposited will entitle the customers one entry for the prize draw. BIMB said the campaign will be opened to all existing as well as new account holders. To date, the bank has secured approximately RM1.54 billion in deposits through Al-Awfar of which 90 per cent are in Al-Awfar Savings Account.

Bank Muamalat Indonesia Reports 42.3 Per Cent Increase In Profit

Bank Muamalat Indonesia reported a 42.3 percent increase in net profit to Rp389.4 billion (RM121.48 million) last year from Rp273.6 billion (RM85.35 million) in the previous year. The net profit before tax reached Rp521.8 billion (RM162.78 million) or an increase of 40.4 percent from Rp371.7 billion (RM115.96 million) in 2011. The increase in net profit of the bank was attributable to a 38.1 percent rise in assets to Rp44.9 trillion (RM14 billion) in 2012. Its non performing financing remains at 1.81 percent. In 2012 , Bank Muamalat issued sharia bonds valued at Rp800 billion (RM249,57 million).

KLCCP Expects First Shariah REIT To Be Among Asia's Largest Property Groups

KLCC Property Holdings (KLCCP) expects its KLCCP Stapled Group, the first shariah-compliant stapled real estate investment trust (REIT), to become one of the largest property groups in Asia with a market capitalisation of RM12 billion. Chief Executive Officer Hashim Wahir said the KLCC REIT will house three properties - Petronas Twin Towers, Menara 3 Petronas and Menara ExxonMobil. The stapled REIT which is the KLCCP shares and KLCC REIT unit will be stapled and will be traded as one security on the Bursa Securities. Upon completion of the restructuring, KLCCP shareholders will own shares and units in KLCCP and KLCC REIT respectively.

Bank Islam Eyes 20-25 Per Cent Growth In Financing This Year

Bank Islam Malaysia targets its financing segment to grow about 20 per cent to 25 per cent this year. Its Director of Business Development Khairul Kamarudin said the target would be achieved through the introduction of four new products related to technology and microfinancing. He added that all the products will be novelty to the market. However, the bank has not obtain any regulatory approvals yet. Khairul said the bank is also targeting to reduce further its non-performing loan (NPL) ratio and to increase its retail deposits by 15 per cent this year.

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