Malaysia will be consolidating and capitalising on its comparative edge in Islamic finance to intensify financial integration and connectivity with international economies, mainly to support expansion of trade and investment activities.
Deputy Finance Minister Datuk Dr Awang Adek Hussin said Islamic finance has proven to be a potent tool for the nation to achieve more inclusive, well-rounded and sustainable economic development.
He said Islamic finance started as a strategy for greater financial inclusion in reaching out to the underserved segment of Muslims and has progressed into a competitive form of financial intermediation for retail customers, businesses and the government.
"At a time when world economy is slowing down, Islamic finance is, more than ever, central to our agenda for sustainable growth and development," he said.
Awang Adek said this at the International Symposium on Sustainable Growth - Financial Stability: Current Lessons for Social and Economic Governance in Tokyo on Tuesday.
The text of his speech was released here yesterday.
He said building on the country's strengths and expertise, the Islamic financial services sector today is well-positioned to be a key sector of strategic growth to facilitate the economic transformation of the nation into a high-income economy.
Awang Adek said the Malaysian sukuk market has evolved to be the world's largest Islamic bond market, with a market share of 60 per cent, or US$108 billion (RM329 billion), in outstanding sukuk as at end-2011.
He said the dynamism of sukuk has been pivotal in contributing to the development of a vibrant bond market, expanding at a rate of 22.2 per cent per annum between 2000 and 2010.
"We are seeing steady increase in the issuance of foreign currency-denominated sukuk in Malaysia, accounting for 14.5 per cent of US dollar-denominated sukuk issued globally," he said.
The symposium, held in Tokyo, was jointly organised by the Institute of International Monetary Affairs, the Global Movement of Moderates Foundation and the Konrad Adenauer Foundation.
The conference brought together 200 policy analysts, scholars and decision makers for a dialogue on sustainable growth and financial stability