KFH sees plenty of opportunities in crisis

In the face of the current economic crisis that has severely affected the global economy and financial markets, Kuwait Finance House is looking at further developing the Islamic markets in Malaysia and the region.

Kuwait Finance House (Malaysia) Bhd (KFHMB) managing director Datuk K Salman Younis is confident that Malaysia will continue to attract an inflow of investments and funds from the Middle East, particularly Kuwait to finance viable manufacturing and services sector projects that ensured continuous returns on a long-term basis.

Speaking at the opening ceremony of KFHMB's branch in Bayan Lepas yesterday, Salman said among the potential sectors that have been identified for Middle Eastern investors were alternative energy production, tourism and food processing.

"We are grateful that we are able to continue our expansion programme and we remain committed in Malaysia, as it is evident by the opening of this branch and another in Klang last month. We have also commenced operations of our commercial banking centre in Kota Kinabalu to serve our customers in Sabah," he added.

Salman said KFHMB's decision to open a branch in Penang was buoyed by its status as one of the most industrialised states in Malaysia, having a strong manufacturing base, with the many supportive industries.

"Over and above that, it is also the hub for the Northern Corridor Economic Region (NCER). We see a big potential for KFHMB to provide Islamic financing solutions to meet their business requirements.

He said its strategy was to develop "cutting-edge" syariah-compliant banking and financial solutions tailored to the specific needs of its customers. "Bayan Lepas is our springboard into the various market sectors in Penang and its neighbourhood," he added.

KFHMB has established itself in Penang via facilities for several projects namely The One, Penang Cyber City and The Sanctuary, an exclusive property enclave within the Batu Uban Growth Triangle.

Other projects where KFHMB has a presence include the i-Palazzia commercial development, i-Regency residential property and The CEO, a retail and purpose-built office project.

Salman said the current financial turmoil offered good prospects for Islamic finance to position itself as a viable and stable alternative to conventional finance that provides investors with other asset classes and markets.

He added that on the global front, there was a keen interest in developing Islamic finance hubs, which has spread from highly populated Muslim countries to non-Muslim regions.

"An ever increasing attention from European countries, the US, Japan, China and Indonesia, is a testament to the momentum and sustainability of Islamic banking. This has opened the doors for us to capitalise on these developments and make Islamic finance a central force, or one with a significant share of the overall financial system," he added.

By Regina William (The Edge Daily)

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