DUBAI: Malaysia is at the forefront of global Islamic finance, with an average annual industry growth of 20 per cent over the past five years, says Malaysia’s Chief Justice of Federal Court, Zaki Tun Azmi.
At the same time, Azmi said that Malaysia is in a privileged position to drive performance in the Islamic banking industry by adopting best business practices and infusing innovation to enable sustainable growth in the financial sector.
The rate of growth of Islamic financing in Malaysia has been very impressive over the years especially after the recent global financial crisis, said the Chief Justice, while addressing a media roundtable in Dubai on Wednesday evening.
The Malaysian Islamic financial sector is seen as one of the most progressive and attractive in the world, he noted.
At the same time, the director general of Dubai Courts, Dr Ahmed Saeed bin Hazim said Dubai Courts recognises the importance of judicial systems applied in other countries, to enhance the efficiency of the judicial system followed in Dubai Courts.
Dr Hazim, who is also the Vice President of the Board of Judicial co-ordination, said the most important being the common law system, where there are opportunities to take advantage of best practice to improve the judicial work as a part of our vision for the future.
Today, and through the experience of Chief Justice, Azmi and the experience of combining Islamic (Shariah) system and the common law system,” said Dr. Hazim.
It is only a new opportunity of interest to the Dubai Courts to inform ourselves, how to combine these systems and how to apply and the outcome of that application, to make best use to enhance the effectiveness and efficiency of internal performance, he added.
The event was also attended by Chief Justice Michael Hwang, and Justice Ali Al Madhani of DIFC Courts respectively, and Dato’ Yahaya Abdul Jabar, the Malaysian Ambassador to the UAE, among other distinguished guests.
On his part, Chief Justice Azmi disclosed that Malaysia has a comprehensive regulatory and supervisory framework that caters to the unique characteristics of Islamic finance.
He added that the international financial community has taken note of Malaysia’s strategic direction in developing and nurturing Islamic banking and finance. With this, they have acknowledged Malaysia as the leading Islamic financial centre, he said.
CJ Azmi explained that Malaysia’s legal system is based on English Common Law, alongside a Sharia court system, both of which he termed as a ‘hybrid system’.
Azmi is the sixth and current Chief Justice of Malaysia. He was appointed in October 2008 after his predecessor, Abdul Hamid Mohammad, retired from office, and he serves his final year in 2011.
On the issue of Shariah Law, Chief Justice Azmi said that it is a perfect one, in the sense that it provides flexibility and can be applicable without limitations.
My immediate predecessor had said in a speech that Islamic law is any law that is not un-Islamic. Shariah law does not need to use Arabic words or terms in order to be Islamic. What matters most is that the substance is Islamic, he told the gathering.
“In my opinion, the practice of adopting and innovating other laws to be part of the Shariah is a healthy practice. For as long as it does not contravene the Quran and Ahadeeth, it can be applied and can co-exist with common law in harmony. This has to some extend been proven by Malaysia,” he concluded.