Welcoming Address
YBhg Tan Sri Zarinah Anwar, Chairman, Securities Commission, Malaysia
at the
Inaugural SC-OCIS Forum
Tuesday, 16 March 2010
Securities Commission, Malaysia

His Royal Highness Raja Dr Nazrin Shah, the Crown Prince of Perak Darul Ridzuan
Yang Amat Berbahagia Tun-Tun
Dr Farhan Nizami, Director, Oxford Centre for Islamic Studies,
Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen

Assalamualaikum and good morning.



We are indeed very grateful that His Royal Highness Raja Dr Nazrin Shah, the Crown Prince of Perak, and also Ambassador of the Malaysian International Islamic Finance Centre (MIFC), has accepted our invitation to grace this occasion. His Royal Highness was also here yesterday, to support us at our closed-door roundtable. Your Royal Highness, thank you very much for your commitment and support once again, and for agreeing to deliver the Keynote Address at this event.


I would also like to welcome all our guests to this forum. Your support has been overwhelming.


The Securities Commission is really pleased to host the Inaugural SC – Oxford Centre for Islamic Studies Forum which is the second tangible and significant outcome of the collaboration between the SC and the Centre. Yesterday we had a very successful closed-door Roundtable discussing two critical and contemporary issues in Islamic Finance. I hope today’s Forum will be as successful as yesterday’s Roundtable.


The Securities Commission has, for several years now established a special project team to focus on initiatives for the development and promotion of the Islamic Capital Market. Funded by a grant from the Capital Market Development Fund, we have been able to contribute to the advancement of knowledge, promotion of dialogue and discussion as well as training and capacity building. We have published the Islamic Capital Market Series, a syllabus of 6 volumes covering areas such as Shari’ah principle, Shari’ah contracts, taxation, legal documentation to name a few, as well as a book on Sukuk. We have established a Visiting Scholars Programme with the University of Malaya to bring in international scholars in the area of Islamic finance to Malaysia. We have also organised several International Islamic Capital Market Forum to discuss contemporary Islamic Capital Market issues and the annual Islamic Markets Programme for international regulators and industry participants. To increase the pool of talent joining the industry, we have also embarked on the Islamic Capital Market Graduate Training Scheme.


The achievements we have recorded with regard to these various initiatives owes much to the vision and guidance of the eminent members of our International Advisory Council. Please allow me a moment to thank our members; Mr. Abdulkader Thomas, Shaykh Nizam Yaqoubi, Dr. Mohamed Ali Elgari and Mr. Iqbal Khan. They have all played a pivotal role in us being here today. It was a recommendation of the Council almost two years ago that prompted us to take steps to collaborative partnership with the OCIS. It is a privilege to work with the Centre. We hope the Centre’s structured approach towards research, debate and learning combined with the SC’s skills, experience and data will enable further thought leadership to be developed in the area of Islamic Finance, and the Islamic capital markets in particular.

Your Royal Highness, Ladies and Gentlemen:


The global financial crisis requires that every avenue of reconciliation with our recent past and with what the future holds must be explored, and we hope that this programme represents one of the avenues through which the necessary debate and exchange of knowledge and experience can be facilitated.


We have with us today leading scholars and practitioners who will help us explore and analyse what is important for the future of Islamic finance.

Your Royal Highness, Ladies and Gentlemen:


From bad design to unethical sales practices to poor governance, the financial crisis was fuelled by all that is wrong for business and finance. Participants in the market should not be driven solely by profits or, for that matter, solely by the desire to be charitable. As the world is recovering from this crisis, there is a greater need to focus on the fact that a balanced and fair approach is the right approach.


Contractual arrangements, relationships with counterparties, governance rules, and the regulatory frameworks set up by securities regulators and other authorities all over the world are the focus of today.


Islamic finance in its modern form is relatively new. As we seek new frontiers and extend the Islamic finance space through rapid innovation and aggressive marketing, it is important that we ensure that form does not undermine substance; that the focus of Islamic Finance be as much on the Islamic as well as on finance. Uncertainty, lack of clarity, conflicting interpretations, will not inspire confidence and may even slow down the pace of development. It is for this reason that the SC had last year introduced numerous changes to the Capital Market Services Act. These changes which are expected to come into force next month, strengthens the SC’s Shariah Advisory Council and places it on sound legal footing to ensure that the SAC will continue to play an important role in the development of the Islamic Capital Market. The law now recognises the SAC as the central authority for the ascertainment of Shariah principles for Islamic capital market. The new provisions also enable a licensed person, the stock exchange or a PLC or other persons to refer matters to the SAC for its advice and ruling which shall be binding on the person or entity concerned. We believe this to be a crucial step in ensuring a clear and consistent development path for Islamic finance that ensures certainty whilst protecting investors.

Your Royal Highness, Ladies and gentlemen


No discussion on Islamic finance these days is complete without a mention on the scarcity of Shariah and Islamic finance expertise. This underscores the concern of many that the lack of expertise could hold back further growth in the industry. Beyond merely discussing the issue, the Securities Commission has implemented several initiatives at both the national and international levels to promote learning in the realm of Islamic finance. As alluded to earlier, to cater to the needs of the domestic market we offer the Islamic Capital Market Graduate Training Scheme. We have also partnered the University of Malaya to introduce a Visiting Scholars Programme and facilitated secondment of lecturers to our Islamic Capital Market department. We have had two visiting scholars last year from University Malaya and hope to get our 3rd scholar, soon. At the international level, we offer the twice-yearly International Islamic Capital Markets Forum and the annual Islamic Markets Programme. Both these programmes are designed to be comprehensive studies in the current events and developments in the Islamic capital market space. These programmes have been so successful that there are now requests for these programmes to be held overseas and we are actively exploring the possibilities.


As most of you would be aware, the Securities Commission registers all Shariah advisers for the Islamic capital market activities. This gives us the opportunity as the regulator to conduct regular training programmes to ensure that these Shariah advisers are apprised of latest developments and fully meet the standards as set forth by the SC Guidelines on the Registration of Shariah Advisers.

Your Royal Highness, Ladies and Gentlemen,


The crisis has shown, that it critical for governments, regulators, academia and industry players to work together on finding the solutions to the problems at hand. There is much to be done, and much to be learned from working with each other. Forums such as this which allow some of the best minds in Islamic finance to meet and debate issues will only enhance the industry. Allow me to once again express my sincerest appreciation to Dr Farhan Nizami and the Oxford Centre for Islamic Studies for their cooperation and we look forward to working together in future collaborations. I want to also thank all speakers and participants; your participation has been extensive and this programme would not have been possible but for your support and your cooperation. His Royal Highness Raja Nazrin Shah, thank you for your gracious presence and for delivering the Keynote Address this morning.

Thank you very much.