The International Shariah Research Academy for Islamic Finance (Isra), which is backed by the central bank, has already been tapped by a number of parties to conduct research in the fields of maqasid-driven investment, Shariah governance and retakaful, its executive director Dr Mohamad Akram Laldin said.
This is good news for the academy which was officially launched on Nov 11, in a ceremony attended by some 400 industry practitioneers and academicians from the field of Islamic finance. "For me, the timing of this event could not have been any better, as the world is now engulfed with the consequential effects of the recent financial debacle," said Mohamad Akram in his welcoming speech at the event. He added that this has prompted many parties from the financial stage to look more closely at the potential of Islamic finance as the conduit and leverage for a more stable, robust and vibrant financial system, which should lead to the primary goal of ensuring prosperity for all.
ISRA is a specialised research academy established by Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) on March 26, as part of initiatives to enhance the spectrum of Islamic finance knowledge, with concentration on applied research that is geared towards solving the pressing issues faced by the global Islamic finance industry, particularly Shariah matters.
"Bank Negara Malaysia's pivotal role in elevating and adding to the mass of Islamic finance's body of knowledge is testament to Malaysia’s unrelenting quest to be the global Islamic financial hub and a model for other countries wishing to embrace Islamic finance," said Mohamad Akram.
Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi represented Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi at the launch, which was also attended by BNM governor Tan Sri Dr Zeti Akhtar Aziz.
As part of the launch, Isra organised a one-day seminar. Presenters included IIUM Institute of Islamic Banking and Finance deputy dean Dr Younes Soualhi who presented a paper on Shariah inspection in surplus distribution and Indonesian Shariah scholar Dr Muhammad Syafii Antonio who also sits on the BNM's Shariah Advisory Council.
Also presenting were IIUM Institute of Islamic Banking and Finance Associate Professor Dr Abdul Rahim Abdul Rahman, CIMB Islamic Bank Bhd director of global markets Shamsun Hussain and Standard Chartered Bank Malaysia Bhd Shariah advisor Dr Nurdianawati Irwani Abdullah.
(By Habhajan Singh. The Malaysian Reserve is a daily business/finance newspaper published out of Kuala Lumpur, with a sectoral page on Islamic finance on Mondays)