Najib: Liberalisation will come at 'comfortable' pace

By Tuesday November 18th, 2008 No Comments
KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 18 – Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak said Malaysia is open to relaxing the Bumiputera equity rule as the country needs to remain competitive globally.

“But it has to be done on the basis of liberalisation at the pace we are comfortable with,” said Najib after opening the Kuala Lumpur Islamic Finance Forum 2008 here.

The government recently relaxed the 30 per cent Bumiputera equity ruling for listed companies in a bid to make the local bourse more attractive.

On the additional measures to be taken by the government to face the global financial crisis, he said the government was monitoring the situation closely and remains confident that the growth projection could be achieved.

“We are very open to additional measures that can be taken from time to time, obviously we are monitoring the situation closely. At the moment we are confident we can achieve the growth target for this year and next year,” said Najib who is also the Finance Minister.

Malaysia’s growth projection next year is expected to be 3.5 per cent compared to the earlier projection of 5.4 per cent.

He said steps would also be taken to ensure strong domestic demand.

“The fiscal stimulus package that we announced must be on the ground by the first quarter of next year,” he added.

Early this month, Najib announced in Parliament a RM7 billion stimulus package to cushion Malaysia’s economy amid global slowdown.

Earlier in his speech, Najib announced that the Securities Commission has awarded two additional Islamic fund management licences to India-based fund management company, Reliance Capital Asset Management and Kuwait-based Global Investment House.

He said various regulatory issues would be addressed to assist Islamic banks and financial institutions to be at par with international standards.

“Since the banking sector is highly regulated, any modification must be made with extreme care as a failure of an Islamic bank could undermine depositors’ and investors’ confidence, and could lead to a crisis in the whole financial system, just like we have seen happening currently in the conventional financial market,” said Najib.

He also said the regulatory framework must be accommodative to Islamic principles.

“Dispute resolution mechanism should also be more accommodative to the application of Islamic legal rules and methods in order to avoid embarrassment to Islamic banking cases as a result of incoherent and anomalous legal judgments,” said Najib.

Source :  Malaysian Insider

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