Kuala Lumpur: Islamic finance visionary Datuk Dr Abdul Halim Ismail becomes the first Malaysian recipient of the Royal Award for Islamic Finance in recognition of his pivotal role in establishing the organisational structure and operating procedures of the first Islamic bank in 1983.
The award was conferred by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong Tuanku Abdul Halim Mu’adzam Shah at a dinner in conjunction with the Global Islamic Finance Forum 2014 (GIFF 2014) here, tonight (Wednesday).
Held every two years, the Royal Award is spearheaded by Bank Negara Malaysia and the Securities Commission Malaysia (SC) under the Malaysia International Islamic Financial Centre’s initiative.
It recognises Islamic finance visionaries who contribute significantly to the growth of the global economy and social progress.
Commenting upon receiving the award, Abdul Halim, who was former Bank Islam managing director, said Islamic finance is deeply connected with the real economy, offering ethical investments and funding options for businesses. “The principles of Islamic finance also encourage inclusiveness to create a fair and equitable financial system that is accessible to all. I am honoured to receive the royal award,” he added.
The former dean of the Faculty of Economics, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, Abdul Halim’s expertise in Syariah law and Islamic banking put him in good stead to sit in Syariah boards of regulators in Bank Negara Malaysia, the SC, and the Labuan International Business and Financial Centre. He had also served as Syarikat Takaful Malaysia chairman and helped set up Malaysia’s first Islamic stockbroking company, BIMB Securities.
Under his vision and stewardship, both the industry and financial institutions flourished, making Islamic finance an increasingly attractive sector, complementing conventional finance.
He has been widely cited in published articles for his knowledge on Islamic economics, banking and finance.
Meanwhile, The Royal Award Chairman of the Jury Panel Tun Musa Hitam described Abdul Halim as a man of vision who has played a vital role in developing the region’s Islamic banking industry.
Musa said 48 candidates were nominated for the award this year, a 25 per cent increase since it was first introduced in 2010. He said Islamic finance is a still a work in progress in every aspect with its global asset expected to swell to US$2.5 trillion by 2015 from US$1.6 trillion at present.
Previous recipients of the Royal Award were Shaikh Sale Abdullah Kamel (2010) and Iqbal Khan (2012).
The Royal Award also accorded the late Dr. Ahmad El-Naggar with a posthumous honourable mention in 2010. -Bernama.
Originally published on www.dailyexpress.com.my