Kuala Lumpur, 6 March 2007

SC reinforces Malaysia’s ICM lead – Hosts global shariah dialogue on sukuk

Banking on Malaysia’s current position as the top sukuk issuer, representing 67 percent of the world sukuk market, the SC leads in strengthening the country’s Islamic capital market (ICM) position through partnerships with global players.

Towards this end, the Securities Commission (SC) and Citigroup co-hosting the Global Shariah Dialogue themed “Recent Trends in the Sukuk Market” in Kuala Lumpur today, have brought together Shariah scholars worldwide and market professionals to foster greater interaction and collaboration amongst each other to address important Shariah issues faced by the Islamic financial services industry.

In her welcome remarks, the SC Chairman Dato’ Zarinah Anwar said with the increasing internationalisation of the sukuk market, standards of compliance, transparency and governance benchmarked against global best practices and standards must be complied with.

“It is our hope that dialogues like this would promote greater cross fertilisation of Shariah views so as to facilitate the smooth development of ICM globally,” she added.

In 2006, 27 out of the 64 sukuk approved by the SC were globally accepted sukuk using the musyarakah, ijarah, istisna’ and mudharabah principles. In value, sukuk structured on the musyarakah concept contributed RM29.4 billion or 70 percent of the total number of approved sukuk in Malaysia.

Meanwhile, the SC and Bank Negara Malaysia will reinforce the country’s position as the global leader with the upcoming joint frameworks on the issuance of non-ringgit sukuk by multilateral development banks and financial institutions, sovereigns and quasi-sovereigns, and local or foreign multinational corporations.

With other supporting infrastructure and regulatory frameworks already firmly in place, the SC believes the focus of the country’s efforts in the next phase of the country’s ICM development must be largely industry-driven.

Dato’ Zarinah said, “We hope to see more government-linked companies, multinational companies and major public listed companies come forward to structure new and innovative Shariah-compliant financial products which will contribute to the promotion and growth of our ICM.”

Malaysia’s position towards becoming an international Islamic financial centre will be further strengthened with the strong support and aggressive initiatives from the Malaysian private sector in product innovation, ensuring global compatibility and acceptance, branding and promotion.