Posted at the star on Tuesday January 31, 2012
GEORGE TOWN: More must be done to promote Islamic banking to non-Muslims, Bank Muamalat chairman Tan Sri Dr Munir Abdul Majid said.
He said while the country’s Islamic banking industry had grown, it had not reached its full potential.
“I’m shocked that many non-Muslims in Malaysia think that Islamic banking is only for the Muslims whereas in overseas, some 80% of the sukuk market investors are non-Muslims.
“The challenge for us is to get non-Muslims to use our banking services by showing them how Islamic banking products can grow their business,” he said.
Munir said English terminology should be used to promote Islamic banking services rather than Arabic.
“For example, instead of Ar-Rahnu being the focus (of a brochure), we should highlight the term ‘pawn-broking’ and put Ar-Rahnu in brackets rather than the other way around – which is what we are doing now.
“We must re-double our efforts to show non-Muslims that Islamic banking is just and fair,” he said.
Citing an example, he said Ar-Rahnu offers better valuation for pawned items compared with other similar forms of financing and the monthly payment was much lower.
Bank Muamalat chief executive officer Datuk Mohd Redza Shah Abdul Wahid said 80% of its depositors were Muslims.
“We have been more successful in promoting our financing products among non-Muslims as they make up about 40% of our loan clients,” he said.
He said last year, Islamic banking formed about 22% of the country’s banking sector.
In the next decade, the figure should double, he said.
Munir and Mohd Redza Shah were speaking at a press conference after opening the bank’s Lebuh Pantai branch here yesterday.
During the event, a total of RM150,400 were presented to 12 religious schools and mosques in the state.