Kuala Lumpur, (25 October 2010)

Malaysia Honours Shaikh Saleh Abdullah Kamel

The Royal Award for Islamic Finance has been awarded to Shaikh Saleh Abdullah Kamel for his visionary drive, extraordinary leadership and personal commitment in spurring the global accessibility of Islamic finance. The Royal Award was presented by D.Y.M.M. Al-Sultan Almu’tasimu Billahi Muhibbudin Tuanku Alhaj Abdul Halim Mu’adzam Shah Ibni Almarhom Sultan Badlishah, Sultan Negeri Kedah Darul Aman and Deputy Yang DiPertuan Agong, on behalf of His Majesty the Yang di-Pertuan Agong at the Royal Gala Dinner and Award Presentation today. 

Shaikh Saleh Abdullah Kamel’s work over four decades has fast-tracked the global adoption of Islamic finance and continues to have sustained financial, economic and social impact in the world.  He is widely credited for pioneering the adoption of Shariah-compliant principles in banking and business. In the absence of Islamic finance at the time, his deep personal adherence to Islamic principles led him to be one of the first individuals to devise Islamic contracts for use in his business operations in the 1960s. In 1969 he founded a group of companies, which amongst others, provides Shariah-compliant retail, corporate and investment banking and treasury services and is today a global organization comprising subsidiaries in 12 countries with more than 300 branches.  Shaikh Saleh Abdullah Kamel followed this by establishing the Islamic Arab Insurance Company in 1979, a pioneering takaful (Islamic insurance) company.

In his efforts to inspire and develop future talent and innovation, Shaikh Saleh Abdullah Kamel established the Islamic Economics Research Centre, King Abdulaziz University and Jeddah Center for Science and Technology in Saudi Arabia. He also founded the Saleh Kamel Centre for Islamic Economy, Al-Azhar University, Cairo and Saleh Kamel Center for Banking Studies and Research, King Saud University, Saudi Arabia. The endeavours of these institutions have led to the development of many tools, techniques and edicts. 

“In line with the ambition of The Royal Award – to be the global benchmark recognition for Islamic finance, the Jury chose to honour a truly unique and pioneering individual – one whose accomplishments have endured a rigorous selection process that is qualitative, quantitative and global in impact. With his extensive contribution to the industry, we believe he will serve as a strong role model to inspire others to follow suit,” says Tun Musa Hitam, Chief Juror, The Royal Award for Islamic Finance.

A key aspect of Shaikh Saleh Abdullah Kamel’s invaluable contribution is the annual Albaraka Symposium on Islamic Economics. Now in its 29th year, the Symposium is widely respected as a cornerstone of the development of Islamic finance. It gathers a worldwide audience of Shariah scholars, bankers and experts to discuss and form solutions for the future of the industry. The Symposium has resulted in more than 150 edicts that feed research and innovation, representing the backbone and basis for the activities of many Islamic financial institutions.   

Following his acceptance of The Royal Award, Shaikh Saleh Abdullah Kamel will lead a series of international engagements to share knowledge, build deeper inter-linkages to the greater global finance community and inspire future nominees.

The selection criteria of the Royal Award for Islamic Finance assess both qualitative and quantitative aspects designed to honour the impact of exceptional contribution and reach in global Islamic finance. This includes financial innovation and pioneering work, exceptional leadership, adoption and acknowledgement within the industry, and inspiration and influence towards future progress and development.

Posthumous Recognition to Father of Modern Islamic Banking
The 2010 Royal Award also included a special category – a posthumous recognition of the late Dr. Ahmad El-Naggar, Father of Modern Islamic Banking.  Dr Ahmad El-Naggar’s first modern experiment with Islamic banking took the form of a savings bank based on profit-sharing. Through his introduction of the basic offering for Islamic banking, he was instrumental in providing for the community and establishing a platform for continuous development of the industry globally. To continue the advancement of Islamic finance, Dr. Ahmad El-Naggar established the Institute of Islamic Banking and Economics in Cairo which provides for the intellectual and operational needs of Islamic banks and the development of a new generation of Islamic finance talent.

The Royal Award is unique as it focuses on the individuals’ record of achievement and outstanding contribution towards the development and advancement of Islamic finance globally. The Royal Award for Islamic Finance is spearheaded by the Malaysia International Islamic Financial Centre (MIFC) and endorsed by Bank Negara Malaysia and Securities Commission Malaysia.