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Malaysia in bid to lift Islamic finance

Via New Straits Times : MALAYSIA could become the first country to incorporate the International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) in Islamic finance, said the Malaysian Institute of Accountants (MIA).

The accounting body was looking into the prospect, said MIA president Datuk Mohammad Faiz Azmi, adding that Malaysia was well-known for its high standards in Islamic finance.

“In fact, only Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand have a high standard of accountancy in Asean. Malaysia is especially good at Islamic finance,” he told NST Business recently.

MIA had received queries from Middle East countries on applying accounting standards in Islamic finance, he said, adding that there were many Malaysian accountants in Riyadh and Dubai.

“MIA will come out with a book on how to apply the IFRS in Islamic finance, as many countries have not adopted it yet,” said Faiz.

On the proposed measures to upgrade accountants’ skills in Islamic financing, Faiz said the Malaysian Accounting Standards Board (MASB) had issued papers on how to implement IFRS in Islamic finance.

“MIA has a committee to encourage Malaysian accountants to upgrade their knowledge. We have the mandate to write a book because there is no book in the world on IFRS in Islamic finance.

“We commission and pay for the book. We also need donations to get this book out. The book is free and will be our contribution to the discussion.”

Faiz said the book would be launched later this month with the help of the regulators and banks.

“Accountants in Malaysia should be encouraged to learn more about what we have been doing. The problem is, not many people know what we are doing.”

According to MIA, Malaysia adopted the IFRS in 2012, in keeping pace with global trends. The IFRS brings transparency, accountability and efficiency to financial markets around the world by fostering trust, growth and long-term financial stability in the global economy.

Faiz said MIA’s role was assisting MASB to prepare the market for IFRS. For that, MIA carried out various workshops and courses.

He said MIA had been supportive of MASB’s role in adopting the IFRS.

“Our job is to assist them in implementing it. We also have a committee in MIA to resolve issues.”

Faiz said MIA ran an open system that recognised accountancy certification, whether it was the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales, Association of Chartered Certified Accountants or the Australian Accounting Standards Board.

“The certifications will have the same common standards. As long as your institute recognises you and we recognise you, you can become a member of MIA. In fact, none of the Malaysian accountants has any problem getting a job abroad, except in the United States.”

He said Malaysia had become a hub for the development of Asean accountancy and was among the top five in shared services centres globally.

“If you look around Cyberjaya, Penang and Melaka, there is already a substantial number of shared services centres. The government is looking at expanding them. We (MIA) have been doing mainly procurement and backsourcing. Some of the banks have trade finance centres here. But we are moving towards, maybe, wealth management as a lot of countries in the region do asset management.”

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