Islamic Finance Industry Must Work Collectively To Address Challenges — Johari

KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 26 – The country’s Islamic finance industry needs to work collectively and persistently to address the challenges and strengthen the weaknesses while continuing to expand, innovate and progress, Second Minister of Finance Datuk Seri Johari Abdul Ghani said.

He said Islamic finance needed to be able to connect with the fast-changing nature of financial industry, both demand and supply, without compromising the faithfulness to Shariah principles and ethics.

“It is important to ensure that the Islamic financial system continues to be relevant, impactful and self-sustaining into the future,” he said at the closing of Bursa Malaysia Shariah Investing Fair 2017 here today.

He said the best minds in Islamic finance and Islamic capital market were encouraged to envision the role of Islamic finance going forward, and how to contribute to the community and deliver real value for the real economy in the aspect of Shariah investing.

Johari said Malaysia also recognised financial inclusion as a policy priority and continued fostering greater access to address remaining gaps.

“Today, financial inclusion has become an important global policy agenda to ensure sustainable economic growth,” he said.

He said as a country that placed immense importance on financial inclusion, Malaysia appreciated that promoting inclusive finance was the key towards achieving growth with equity and in turn helped the nation to realise its goal of sharing economic prosperities equitably among all citizens.

“Today, the emergence of new technologies and financial technology is set to redefine our bid to strengthen our financial inclusion and inclusivity.

“While we will continue to serve the eight per cent of unbanked group through various efforts such as agent banks and non-bank service providers such as e-money issuers and money remittance, we are also looking into democratising investments within the overall financial inclusion agenda,” he said.

He said with the growing Internet penetration rate as well as the availability of various alternative financing platforms, investing activities were no longer exclusive for “accredited investors” but more accessible to the masses.

Meanwhile, he said, to address scams involving illegal investments in the country, investor education played a key role in ensuring adequate investor protection and as precautionary measures in order to prevent falling victim to these malicious schemes.

“In order to prevent and correct these situations, Malaysians need to possess the necessary skills and knowledge to effectively manage their financials,” he said.

He said building financial capability and literacy among Malaysians were vital and a priority for the nation, including the ability to make sound investment decisions, build and manage wealth and adequately prepare for retirement.

“Investor education initiatives for developing financial and investment literacy among school children, college and university students are vital in developing the next generation of investors to be more investment savvy,” he said.

Therefore, he said, the government welcomed more financial and investment education programmes to ensure the nation’s young generation was financially literate.

“What we want to achieve is to improve people’s ability to manage money well through their entire life cycle, and their ability to handle periods of difficulties.

“This will help improve the well-being of individuals and households, ensure a sound and competitive financial system, as well as contribute to the sustainable growth of the economy,” he said.

He said that to tackle people involvement in money games and rich-quick schemes, the nation needed to be creative to ensure that the interest in investing was channelled at the right place.

“We must ensure that the visibility and ranges of products that are available on our market is made known to the masses, including the variety of Shariah products that we have.

“We must also amplify the message that Islamic products are not exclusive for Muslims and everyone should consider investing in Shariah products, given their compatibility with sustainable and responsible investment concept,” he said.

Source – BERNAMA

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