IFIS, Shariah scholars play important roles in COVID-19 recovery – Zulkifli


KUALA LUMPUR – Islamic financial institutions (IFIs) and Shariah scholars play key roles in contributing to the COVID-19 recovery efforts, said Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Religious Affairs) Datuk Seri Dr Zulkifli Mohamad Al-Bakri (picture).

He said Islamic finance players need to ensure that the financial services they offer add value and have a positive impact on the economy and society’s welfare as a whole.

“In addressing the impact from the COVID-19 pandemic, I am confident that the noble values ​​in line with Shariah requirements are the important foundations on which the government and the Islamic financial industry would jointly take steps to fulfil the Shariah objectives, which emphasises the well-being of the religion, life, mind, lineage and property,” he said.

Zulkifli said this in his keynote address at the virtual launch of the 14th Shariah Islamic Financial Advisors Muzakarah (discussion), held in conjunction with the 16th Kuala Lumpur Islamic Finance Forum.

He said fulfilling Shariah objectives is an important basis for decisions made by Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) Shariah Advisory Council as well as the Securities Commission (SC).

“For example, Islamic banking institutions are not allowed to take into account the accrued profit for existing financing in determining the new principal amount for structured or rescheduled financing.

“Islamic banking institutions are also reminded to be fair and caring in dealing with customers and in determining profit rates to help ease the burden on customers and the people impacted by the COVID-19,” he said.

The minister added that the Prime Minister’s Department (Religious Affairs) had also implemented several initiatives such as waqf (endowment) initiatives and the COVID-19 Musa’adah Fund 1.0 and 2.0.

The waqf initiatives include providing waqf services to Amanah Saham Nasional Bhd unitholders and the water waqf initiative has collected RM223,461 as of Jan 31, 2021, while the COVID-19 Musa’adah Fund 1.0 and 2.0 have channelled RM363.5 million to those impacted by the pandemic as of November 2020.

Commenting on the muzakarah themed ‘Islamic Finance Towards Current Economic Solutions’, Zulkifli described the topics of discussion – such as Islamic social finance, takaful during COVID-19, current fatwas on Islamic finance and the direction of Islamic finance – as detailed and appropriate, given the current situation.

“Islamic Social Finance, which is becoming increasingly popular and in line with the modern financial system in most Islamic countries, including Malaysia, should be developed just like the development of the Islamic financial system and Islamic banking.

“Of course, the concerted efforts of regulators such as the BNM, the SC, the Islamic finance industry and Islamic finance scholars to expand the Islamic Social Finance agenda can also boost the Islamic muamalat system,” he said.