Islamic finance opens up exciting prospects for further linkages between Muslim countries, especially in terms of trade with the intra-trade level between countries still relatively low.
In addressing this, Raja Muda Perak Raja Dr Nazrin Shah said against this backdrop, Islamic finance is uniquely positioned to expand its role and presence.
"Enormous opportunities remain for Muslim nations to increase trade with each other given that intra-OIC (Organisation of Islamic Conference) trade currently accounts for only between 10 to 13 per cent of the OIC's global trade," he said during a luncheon address here in conjunction with the Malaysia International Islamic Financial Centre (MIFC) roadshow.
The luncheon was co-hosted by MIFC and Standard Chartered Saadiq in conjunction with the MIFC roadshow to the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia.
Raja Nazrin, who is the MIFC Financial Ambassador, said the industry also offered better prospects for developed economies to forge stronger financial linkages with Asian countries, including Malaysia.
"In the aftermath of the global financial crisis, there has been a heightened interest in Islamic finance as an alternative to conventional finance," he said.
Raja Nazrin said the regulatory and legal frameworks for Islamic finance are already well established and the platforms for extending regional linkages and cross-border initiatives are also in place.
Citing Malaysia, he said the country has played an instrumental role at the international level in the design and implementation of a well-defined global financial architecture for Islamic finance.
Raja Nazrin said specific measures have also been implemented to enhance the competitiveness and efficiency of the Islamic financial services sector in Malaysia, including the implementation of tax neutrality measures, prompting other countries to follow suit.
With Malaysia's strategic location, it could give advantage as a gateway to markets in East Asia, which represents a combined population of 1.6 billion, he said.
"The diversity of our people provides Malaysia with the unique ability to tap into various markets in the region," said Raja Nazrin.
To this extent, he said that substantial scope existed for increased bilateral trade between Malaysia and the UAE.
Raja Nazrin said as the hub for Islamic finance in the Far East, corporations in the UAE are invited to invest in Malaysia while Malaysian companies are encouraged to invest in the UAE.
"Malaysia will benefit from greater diversification of products and services offered at competitive prices, while UAE investors can tap into the valuable economic opportunities in Malaysia and East Asia," he said.
More than 150 companies from various sectors in the UAE attended the business networking lunch, which created linkages between the industry players from both countries.
The MIFC delegation, comprising over 50 members, involved key regulators, fund managers and industry players.
source : BERNAMA