Friday, October 7, 2011


Thursday October 06, 2011





Assalamualaikum W.B.T and Salam 1Malaysia.

Yang Berbahagia Dato’ Professor Dr. Abdullah Mohamed Said,
Deputy Vice Chancellor (Student Affairs) of Universiti Teknologi MARA (UiTM);

Professor Dr. Faridah Hj Hassan,
Director of Institute of Business Excellence (IBE),
Universiti Teknologi MARA (UiTM);

Distinguished Guests, Speakers, Professors and Students.

1. My heartiest congratulations go to the Institute of Business Excellence, UiTM and student organisation, KONSEN for organising this big event – International Islamic Finance & Business Symposium and Halal Carnival 2011. As nations begin to emerge not only from the worldwide recession and the credit crisis, we are now facing the uncertainty of climatic changes, more economic instability and political strife all over the world. This period of fragile recovery and change brings with it a series of new and important issues for the global community.

2. When world economies were reeling from the debilitating global financial crisis originating from speculative no-collateral junk loans such as subprime derivatives, spooked financial market players were looking for an alternative financial system which was more steadfastly ethics-based. In their desperation they looked everywhere only to finally find a safe haven and solution in Islamic Finance as espoused by Malaysia. So enamoured were they of the virtues of this values-based financing that investors from all religious denominations began to take it seriously and learnt about the many types of financial tools created by Malaysian banks.

3. In fact, as the number of syariah-compliant loans began to rise, indicating the growing demand for such financial tools from among Muslim and non-Muslim clients, more and more international banks not normally associated with Islamic tenets started to offer Islamic Financial products. Now it is no longer strange to see international commercial banks issuing Islamic loans to clients who are also non-Muslim. Such is the success of the global Islamic Finance and Banking system which had its principles and details thought out by intellects from Malaysia and the rest of the Muslim world, that the global financial system now has an alternative that provides much needed stability and safety to financial assets.

Distinguished Guests,

4. As testimony to the reliability of Islamic Finance and Banking, in 2009 the Vatican suggested that banks should look at the rules of Islamic finance to restore confidence amongst their clients at a time of global economic crisis. The Vatican’s official newspaper called ‘Osservatore Romano’ stated that – “The ethical principles on which Islamic finance is based may bring banks closer to their clients and to the true spirit which should mark every financial service”. Many non-Muslims can see the wisdom as well as the advantages of Islamic Finance over conventional systems. Therefore, Muslims have very little excuse to fall behind in this respect.

5. Furthermore, on the establishment of the global halal industry, it was during the OIC COMCEC meeting several years ago that Malaysia suggested for halal to be included as an item in the agenda of the meeting. There were many objections in the beginning-mostly questions on whether Malaysia was implying that food being consumed in Muslim countries were actually non-halal. Our explanation and response was that whilst Muslims may feel that they adhered to all the tenets of Islam to ensure the food we prepare for consumption are halal, but there are still weaknesses and loopholes that we have ignored for far too long. In this day and age, with the cutting edge technology that is at our disposal, it is unacceptable to use "darurat" as an excuse to not be absolutely sure we strictly follow out by the obligations and commandments of the holy Al-Quran.

6. When it was pointed out that as Muslims rise early in the morning to have their bath before performing fajr prayers, and they brush their teeth to keep themselves clean as they prostrate before Allah SWT, little did they know that either the toothpaste they used had pig bone as an ingredient, or the toothbrush was made of pig bristle. Surely using these items cannot be halal, and yet here we were confidently performing our prayers oblivious to the fact that we may have not adhered to our obligations in respect to halal.

7. Another good example is in the way we prepare our foods. Even if we make sure our meats are slaughtered properly but then use ingredients that are not permissible in their preparation such as the use of lard in sauces, then we would have been remiss in our religious obligations. Or even when we've done everything to ensure our food is halal, but then use a plate that says bone China on the back, then again we would have been negligent as the plate could have been made of pig bone.

8. Clearly we have to be more vigilant in the way we fulfil our religious obligations especially when we have all the means to determine whether the way we or others prepare food is indeed halal.

9. Such persuasive arguments were how we convinced our brothers and sisters in OIC COMCEC to put halal on the agenda. Since then, the production and export of halal food everywhere in the world has created a typical blue ocean market, and the non-food halal sector has seen healthy growth. Now the global halal market is valued at USD2.7trillion annually, fuelled not only because of a huge Muslim market or whether the Muslim minority in developed nations have high disposable income, but also because non-Muslims now consider halal products more hygienic in an era where diseases such as avian and swine flu had gone endemic in various parts of the world.

Honourable Guests,

10. I think it would not be an exaggeration to say that Malaysia has done a great service, in fact a fardu kifayah for the global Ummah by developing both the Islamic financial system and the halal industry. This fardu kifayah that we have spent much time and effort on has benefited not only Muslims but also non-Muslims from across the world. Sadly I don't think Malaysia gets anywhere near enough credit for the good work its put in. Despite that, it is with some level of satisfaction that we see Islam so directly associated with the highest form of ethics by Muslims and non-Muslims alike. The association or branding of Islam with ethics or values-based finance is something that cannot be denied even by people who don't consider themselves to be friends of Islam. Whether they like it or not, they too have to use terms like sukuk, mudarabah, takaful etc as their clients demand for Islamic financial products.
11. Imagine the contradiction when someone says Islam promotes terrorism while at the same time making use of Islamic banking facilities or consuming halal products. How do these people justify their propaganda that Muslims are inclined towards violence while also acknowledging that Islam expounds ethics and good values? It is evident that the more demand there is for Islamic Banking and Finance as well as for halal products and services, the stronger our ability to defeat the propaganda to malign Islam as a violent religion.

12. Thus, brothers and sisters, I think that what you as the organisers of IIBSC are doing is truly noble and important. You may see it as another symposium that revolves around Islamic Banking and halal, but I see it as another step towards creating better understanding between peoples of the world and between different faiths. From where you sit, you may see a carnival, but I see an attempt to promote global peace.

13. Congratulations on such a noble endeavour.

14. Thus, with the recitation of Bismillahi Rahmani Rahim, I officially declare open the ‘International Islamic Finance & Business Symposium and Halal Carnival (IIBSC) 2011’.

Thank you.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Saya pernah mencadangkan kepada Perdana Menteri Malaysia melalui e-mel beliau berkenaan sayap pelaburan UMNO yang bukan sahaja sekadar perniagaan, tetapi menjadi rantaian untuk menghubungkan petani-petani yang selama ini menjual hasil kepada peraih dengan harga yang rendah tapi selepas diproses peraih menjual dengan harga berlipat kali ganda, kesannya petani, penternak, nelayan bumiputera makin miskin sedangkan peraih dan pengusaha bukan bumiputera makin kaya raya. UMNO ada kekuatan kerana di samping dapat menguatkan ekonomi bumiputera, tetapi sebagai perisai untuk mencegah monopoli keterlaluan peraih-peraih yang memeras petani, penternak dan nelayan. Sekiranya berminat, boleh mengadakan perbincangan dengan saya melalui e-mel, sama-samalah memperkukuhkan kekuatan ekonomi bumiputera, bukannya nak menindas bukan bumiputera tetapi melindungi kedudukan ekonomi bumiputera yang makin lesu, bumiputera ada kekuatan, tapi membiarkan orang lain memijak kepala mereka sebab mereka tak tahu nak baiki diri sendiri.