Islamic Finance As The Means To The Revival Of Islamic Renaissance
Speech By

Dato' Azizan Abdul Rahman
Labuan Financial Services Authority

11 November 2010
Convention Hall, Financial Park Complex, Labuan

Bismillahir Rahmanir Rahim
Assalamu’alaikum Warahmatullahi Wabarakatuh and Salam Sejahtera.
Yang Amat Berbahagia Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad
Honorary President, Perdana Leadership Foundation
Y. Berhormat Dato Yusoff Haji Mahal
Member of Parliament Labuan serta Datin
Y. Berbahagia Dato’ Azmi bin Ariffin
Authority Member of Labuan Financial Services Authority and CEO of SSM

Chairmen of the Labuan Associations

Tan Sri-Tan Sri, Dato’-Dato’, 

Distinguished Guests, Members of the Media
Ladies and Gentlemen,

On behalf of the Labuan FSA, it is with great pleasure that I welcome you to the Fifth Labuan International Islamic Finance Lecture Series and the beautiful island of Labuan.

I also have the distinct honour to welcome and express our utmost appreciation to our distinguished guest speaker for today, Yang Amat Berbahagia Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad for accepting our invitation to speak at this event, sharing his thoughts and vision on Islamic finance moving forward. While he is a man that needs no introduction, I will not do justice if I do not highlight some of the many contributions of Yang Amat Berbahagia Tun Mahathir to Malaysia.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Under his premiership, Yang Amat Berbahagia Tun successfully transformed Malaysia from a commodities-based economy into a modern vibrant industrialized country within a mere 2 decades and has put Malaysia on the global map.

Yang Amat Berbahagia Tun Dr. Mahathir is without a doubt a steward of a breathtaking economic transformation who changed the global perception of Malaysia and Malaysians alike. Malaysia today is a regional economic powerhouse and a force to be reckoned in the international arena. His vision of making Malaysia a developed nation by 2020 had broken the mental barriers of many Malaysians and had given much confidence to Malaysians in their ability to transform the country. The breadth and depth of Yang Amat Berbahagia Tun Dr. Mahathir’s contributions have provided the basis for Malaysia’s continued prosperity until today.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

It was Yang Amat Berbahagia Tun Dr. Mahathir’s vision, fervor and commitment that had transformed this lesser known island then into one of the region’s most vibrant international business and financial centre that it is today.

Labuan’s progress was given a big boost when the Federal Government, under Yang Amat Berbahagia Tun’s leadership, inaugurated it as an International Offshore Financial Centre on 1 October 1990 (now known as International business and financial centre, IBFC) to serve the Asian region and beyond, and to complement the growth of financial activities in the country. Six years later, on 15 February 1996, Labuan FSA was established to regulate and supervise its development as an international financial centre.
Let us walk down memory lane for a minute to August 29, 1996 where Yang Amat Berbahagia Tun Dr. Mahathir, in his speech when officiating the opening of the Labuan Financial Park Complex, said, “We are confident that with the innovative spirit and the pragmatic approach adopted by the Government, Labuan will continue to prosper into the future. Several areas which are receiving special attention are the trust business, insurance industry, and the deepening of the banking activities. In addition, Islamic financial services are being developed as an important niche for Labuan. And this niche will need to be pursued vigorously in Labuan to take advantage of Malaysia’s headstart in Islamic banking.”

It is an undisputable fact that Malaysia is a market leader in Islamic finance. However, this growing stature transcends to include Malaysia as a key centre for thought leadership in developing Islamic finance.
Reflecting on the past, present and future of Islamic finance; reminded me of the words of a famous historian, Francis Hodgson Burnett, who wrote on the history of new ideas: at first people refuse to believe that a strange new thing can be done, then they begin to hope that it can be done, then they see it can be done, then when it is done all the world wonders why it was not done centuries before.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

The Labuan International Islamic Lecture Series or in short Lecture Series provides a platform for key stakeholders such as regulatory and authoritative bodies, Labuan industry players, scholars and academicians as well as the global community to congregate and explore new ideas in the Islamic finance industry. The Lecture Series is an annual event organised by Labuan FSA, and as part of our continuous efforts to nurture and enhance the awareness and in-depth understanding of Islamic finance.
The Lecture Series in many ways has contributed towards greater awareness of not only Islamic finance, but also about Labuan IBFC. For the benefit of all, Labuan IBFC is home to a diversified spectrum of financial services providers which includes 7,900 Labuan companies, 60 international banks, 167 insurance players, 171 leasing companies and trust companies.

In terms of Islamic finance development, Labuan IBFC has carved itself for a larger role to support the growth of the Islamic finance industry. Presently, we have 6 Islamic banks, 8 Islamic windows, 6 takaful and retakaful operators, 12 Islamic window reinsurance companies, 19 private funds and 20 Islamic notes listed in LFX.

Through the past Lecture Series sessions, we are honoured to have in our presence, renowned personalities such as His Royal Highness Raja Nazrin Shah ibni Sultan Azlan Muhibuddin Shah, The Regent of Perak Darul Ridzuan, internationally acclaimed Malaysian syariah expert, Dr. Mohd Daud Bakar, prominent industry practitioner, Mr. Iqbal Khan and last but not least, Yang Berhormat Dato’ Dr. Awang Adek Hussin. We certainly look forward and will continue to engage prominent and internationally acclaimed individuals to share their knowledge and expertise through this lecture series.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

We are truly honoured and privileged to have with us today, Yang Amat Berbahagia Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad to deliver a lecture entitled “Islamic Finance as the Means to the Revival of Islamic Renaissance”. On this note, once again, on behalf of the Labuan FSA I would like to thank Yang Amat Berbahagia Tun for your presence to deliver the lecture speech. This marks another important and significant milestone in the annals of the lecture series.

Thank you.

Wassalamu’alaikum Warahmatullahi Wabarakatuh.
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