KUALA LUMPUR : THE government is going all out to ensure that the country remains the world's premier Islamic finance hub. Its latest collaboration with Islamic Development Bank (IDB) to jointly set up a training centre is part of the efforts to maintain the status. Once developed, the Islamic Banking Centre of Excellence will enable IDB to provide a myriad of Islamic banking products and offerings that include research and development in innovation, capacity building, knowledge sharing and liquidity management. " Malaysia welcomes a proposal by IDB to build their office in Malaysia . We are pleased to offer a strategic location at the Tun Razak Exchange," Second Finance Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Husni Hanadzlah said at the IDB High Level Regional Forum , here, yesterday. He added that the Malaysian government has always viewed IDB not only as an international institution, but also as a partner in charting the country's growth. Tan Sri Dr Mohd Irwan Serigar Abdullah, Secretary General to the Finance Ministry , later divulged that the discussions are still in the beginning stages and the centre will be established within next three to five years. "We are just starting the discussions. We are also talking to 1Malaysia Development Bhd that owns the Tun Razak Exchange... they will be coming up with the conceptual plan for the centre. In fact, we will hand in the concept papers during our meeting with IDB next week," he said. IDB president Tan Sri Dr Ahmad Mohamed Ali expressed his optimism about the collaboration and foresees more regional centres of excellence once the plan becomes a success. "It will be the first of its kind and we are choosing Malaysia as our centre in Southeast Asia , given its incredible strength of Islamic banking. The centre of excellence will mitigate Islamic banking deals not only in Malaysia and Southeast Asia , but also to the greater part of the world," he said. Based in Saudi Arabia, IDB currently has 56 member countrie. The bank actively participates in financing and infrastructure deals with Malaysia , Libya , Egypt and Indonesia . The IDB group comprises five entities, which include the Islamic Corporation for the Development of the Private Sector (ICD) and the International Islamic Trade Finance Corporation (ITFC). Both entities are excited about the development of the regional centre during separate interviews with Business Times. "We look forward to the development of the centre. We will be able to showcase our full offerings and get in touch with more investors," said ICD chief executive officer Khaled M. Al-Aboodi . Hani Salem Sonbol , ITFC's deputy chief executive, is also optimistic about the centre. "ITFC generates up to US$5.2 billion ( RM16.85 billion ) of trade finance annually, but Malaysia has never been at the receiving end of that as it has very good liquidity and governance. "By having a centre of excellence here, we will be able to conduct thorough knowledge-sharing activities with Malaysia and can adopt its superior knowledge in governance and liquidity management for use in other member countries," he said.
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