Two Malaysian states are set to change their Islamic laws to punish Muslims who engage in homosexuality, raising the prospect of gay Muslims being punished twice and stoking concerns about rising intolerance toward same-gender relationships. Homosexuality is punishable by law in Malaysia by caning and up to 20 years in jail, but the legal amendments planned by Pahang and Malacca religious authorities would give the state governments additional ammunition.
Islamic finance is toughening supervision of its powerful religious advisers as shareholders worldwide demand increasing accountability from directors, but key reforms may do little to boost independence and transparency.
Key to these challenges is the small number of scholars advising a growing number of banks on increasingly complex financing structures, raising issues such as transparency of rulings, independence of advisers and how to groom new scholars.
KUALA LUMPUR (Reuters) – Etiqa Takaful, Malaysia’s largest Islamic insurer, expects its contributions to rise faster than the broader industry’s this fiscal year, as interest in takaful grows and reinsurers provide more capacity.
Etiqa sees contributions, or the Islamic equivalent of premiums, rising a fifth this year, versus the industry’s 12 percent, but slower than last year’s 40 percent, its chief Shahril Azuar Jimin said on Thursday.
KUALA LUMPUR (Reuters) – CIMB Islamic, the world’s top sukuk arranger, will offer new sharia products this year to expand its business in Indonesia and Singapore, as the Islamic finance market struggles to recover from the financial crisis.
The Malaysian bank plans to launch products such as Islamic auto financing, structured instruments, derivatives and unit trusts to tap demand in Indonesia, the world’s most populous Muslim nation, Chief Executive Officer Badlisyah Abdul Ghani said.
KUALA LUMPUR (Reuters) – Islamic banks are expected to move more deeply into riskier, equity-based financing as they seek alternatives to controversial debt mechanisms like the tawarruq, a prominent sharia scholar said on Monday.
Sharia banks have been reluctant to adopt equity models like the mudaraba to avoid taking on more risk, but there is growing pressure for the industry to reduce its reliance on debt instruments.
KUALA LUMPUR/DUBAI, Oct 1 (Reuters) – Dubai Group, an
investment vehicle owned by the ruler of Dubai, is reviewing
options for its stake in Malaysia’s Bank Islam as it shifts its
strategic focus closer to home, it said on Thursday.
If Dubai Group eventually sells its stake in Bank Islam, it
could spark a round of consolidation among Malaysia’s Islamic
banks. Several Islamic bankers in Malaysia have said Maybank’s
<MBBM.KL> Islamic subsidiary wants to acquire a stake in Bank