Assalamualaikum Warahmatullahi Wabarakatuh Dan Salam Sejahtera.
Menghadap Kebawah Duli Yang Maha Mulia Seri Paduka Baginda Yang Di-Pertuan Agong Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri’ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah Ibni Al-Marhum Sultan Haji Ahmad Shah Al-Musta’in Billah.
Menghadap Kebawah Duli Yang Maha Mulia Seri Paduka Baginda Raja Permaisuri Agong Tunku Hajah Azizah Aminah Maimunah Iskandariah Binti Almarhum Almutawakkil Alallah Sultan Iskandar Al-Haj.
Terlebih Dahulu Patik Ingin Mengambil Kesempatan Ini Untuk Menyembahkan Ucapan Setinggi-Tinggi Junjungan Kasih Kepada Kebawah Duli Yang Maha Mulia Seri Paduka Baginda Tuanku Berdua Bercemar Duli Berangkat Ke Majlis Anugerah Diraja Kewangan Islam Malaysia Yang Cukup Bermakna Pada Hari Ini.
Patik Memohon Perkenan Tuanku Untuk Menyembahkan Ucapan Setinggi-Tinggi Junjungan Kasih Kepada Duli Yang Maha Mulia Paduka Seri Sultan Perak Darul Ridzuan, Sultan Nazrin Muizzuddin Shah Ibni Almarhum Sultan Azlan Muhibbuddin Shah Al-Maghfur-Lah, Penaung Diraja Bagi Inisiatif Kewangan Islam Malaysia, Dan Duli Yang Maha Mulia Raja Permaisuri Perak Darul Ridzuan, Tunku Zara Salim Kerana Telah Berkenan Bercemar Duli Berangkat Ke Majlis Ini.
Patik Mendoakan Semoga Duli Yang Maha Mulia Tuanku Berdua Sentiasa Berada Di Dalam Pemeliharaan Allah S.W.T. Dengan Penuh Kemuliaan Dan Kebesarannya.
Amin Ya Rabbal Alamin.
Patik Mohon Limpah Perkenan Kebawah Duli Yang Maha Mulia Seri Paduka Baginda Tuanku, Untuk Patik Mengalu-Alukan Juga Kehadiran Tetamu-Tetamu Kenamaan Yang Lain Dan Meneruskan Majlis Dalam Bahasa Inggeris.
Yang Amat Berbahagia Tun Musa Hitam, Head Jury, The Royal Award for Islamic Finance
Yang Berhormat Senator Tengku Datuk Seri Utama Zafrul Tengku Abdul Aziz, Minister, Ministry of Finance Malaysia
Yang Berbahagia Tan Sri Shamsiah Mohd Yunus
Governor, Bank Negara Malaysia
Yang Berbahagia Dato’ Seri Dr Awang Adek Hussin
Chairman, Securities Commission Malaysia
Excellencies, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen
- Contrary to the belief of many, I have initiated my engagement with Islamic finance industry in 1994 by default. It was neither my intention nor my dream to take this industry seriously as my profession. Not even close. It was rather an assignment – against my own wishes – to prepare two new courses on contemporary Islamic finance and contemporary zakat respectively back in 1994 at the International Islamic University Malaysia.
- However, as I was walking along the uncharted path, little did I know I was unconsciously embarking on an insightful, inspiring and promising field of Islamic finance which later becomes a global industry. The divine destiny always works amazingly and unexpectedly in this world.
- In the whole process, I have learnt more than I have contributed. I have also known many new great friends and inspiring colleagues across the globe from all walks of life.
- As for me – personally speaking – I have learnt the ins-and-outs of this new and young industry the hard way. I was certain that I knew nothing about Islamic finance back then. There was neither textbook nor structured training on Islamic finance. I had to figure out many things on my own for the first time.
- I simply followed my instinct not yet knowing the vast extent of my world, my profession and my dreams. As confused as I could be, I strongly believed that if I tried hard enough, I would succeed.
- Obviously, there is always a silver lining in life. By the grace and blessings of Allah the Almighty, I was quickly realigned to be engaged actively in many series of intellectual discourse, debate, seminar and workshop not to mention frequent travelling to many cities around the world, away from my family. I knew that I needed to persevere all the way. Fast forward, I would like to believe that I am indeed a graduate of the university of Islamic finance industry. My teachers and professors include many great personalities amongst the policy makers and practitioners alike.
- At this juncture, it is my great duty and pleasure to express my heartfelt gratitude to everyone who has been instrumental to my up-bringing as a young and reluctant Shariah scholar, advising both the local and global industry which seeks to conform to Shariah guidance. Everyone has been truly amazing.
- And more importantly, there is no word to express my sincere appreciation and gratefulness to both Securities Commission Malaysia and Central Bank Malaysia for taking the risk and trusting me by getting me on board as the youngest member of the Shariah Advisory Council since 1997 and 1998 respectively.
- I was equally grateful to both Accounting and Auditing Organisation for Islamic Financial Institution (AAOIFI), Bahrain and Dow Jones Islamic Market Index, New York for having the same level of trust for me to join their respective esteemed organisations in early 2000s, again as the youngest member of the Shariah board. From there, I was given the international platform which resonates well with the very character of Islamic finance. Islamic finance without the international cap and wing is meaningless and incomplete.
- The vast exposure, the hands-on experience, the friendship that has been developed, the creativity that was unlocked, the tears, the joy, the constructive criticisms – all are well positioned – to shape and mould me to become who I am today.
- Above all and everything else, I would like to give credit to International Islamic University Malaysia for imposing on me as early as in 1994 – upon my returning from my PhD studies – to construct the first ever course outline on Islamic finance written by a Shariah-trained academician. Ironically speaking, this was beyond my area of expertise. Although it was a painful exercise but I’m glad it was all worth it.
- I’d like to give special thanks to my understanding wife who has sacrificed so much – together with me – while I was crafting the path of the Shariah mind in Islamic finance. For her sacrifice and my children’s, I owe them a lot of respect and love. I was hardly around in many occasions when they needed me the most.
- I must also thank all my colleagues at Amanie Group who have been supporting me and my Shariah dreams since 2005 in many parts of the world. They have been very supportive and inspiring through the thick and thin of my Shariah entrepreneurship journey.
- Allow me to articulate some insights on Islamic finance from the Shariah mind’s perspective. Indeed, I would like to believe that this year’s Royal Award for Islamic Finance is highly devoted to recognising the importance of Shariah scholarship, Shariah mind and perhaps Shariah thought leadership.
- Despite journeying the Islamic finance industry for almost 27 years, I initially started my career as an academician. Then I joined the industry as a naïve Shariah advisor, clueless about what I was supposed to do and deliver. Moving on, a few years later, upon resigning from the university, I established my own Shariah advisory firm, namely Amanie Advisors, operating in a few cities of the world. Not that long ago, I got a new assignment altogether as the board of director and investment panel in a few public listed companies and GLCs. I also established a few start-ups in different industries such as fintech, sport analytic, nasal spray vaccination for sheep against pneumonia, pharmaceutical research and health product, rubber glove production line, and green diesel technology, amongst others. And most recently, I materialised my old dream, to own a football club, namely Kedah Darul Aman Football Club.
- It is against this backdrop that I intend to pose a question to all of us, what is really my true aspiration of Islamic finance moving forward as a Shariah expert, a business and as a corporate man? I will mention only a few.
- I reckon that Islamic finance needs a more holistic and coherent theory and practice to progress and sustain. Full and strict reliance just on the theory and behaviour of a few selected Islamic contracts is good but not good enough. These contracts have been taught at universities and colleges for centuries. However, Islamic finance is no longer a private affair or a personal contract as it was common in the past. It is now very much a new system which needs to interact with so many verticals and variables from risk, credit, behaviour, profiling, data, laws, taxation and recently smart technology.
- Therefore, the contract-driven mindset will no longer be suitable to offer a good service for contemporary Islamic finance industry. I would like to put forth that a new mindset is essential particularly amongst the Shariah scholars and intelligentsia. Although this sounds cliché, but it is the reality. We need to develop the financial mindset (‘aqliyyah masrafiyyah) instead of jurisprudential mindset (‘aqliyah fiqhiyyah) relying intensely on peculiarities of a few selected Islamic contracts. The departure from a piece-meal approach to open architecture approach may be more useful and impactful.
- Also, Islamic finance must definitely befriend with the growth sector of the nation more than ever before. This is an area, if given more attention, can provide more job opportunities and help increase the GDP of the nation. More is needed in this area in terms of financing, restructuring, rehabilitation or recuperation all the way to value chain.
- Finally, as the world is perplexed between the capitalism and socialism inspiration to govern the world, I hope it is not too much to desire that Islamic finance needs to embark on creating our own economic and financial inspiration. Approaching Islamic finance away from the economic foundations and the realities of the world economy will not make Islamic finance real and impactful. ‘Economisation’ and socialisation of Islamic finance, I believe, is a natural progress and in the right direction to connect the unconnected dots in our very societies seeking to empower and mainstream Islamic finance in the 21st century.
- I believe I have shared almost all the things I would like to say in this auspicious event. Alhamdulillah, by the grace and blessings of Allah the Almighty, I feel both extremely humbled and deeply honoured to be conferred with this Royal Award for Islamic Finance 2022 by His Majesty Kebawah Duli Yang Maha Mulia Seri Paduka BagindaYang Dipertuan Agong, and witnessed by His Royal Highness Tuanku Sultan Nazrin, the Royal patron for Islamic finance initiative Malaysia.
- I would like to humbly dedicate this award to all my teachers and inspiring colleagues, as well as family members who have made my long journey enjoyable and insightful.
- My profound gratitude goes to the panel of jury who have selected me as the 6th recipient this time around. I can’t thank enough all parties and individuals behind this heartening event and moment. I am sincerely grateful to everyone.
- Winston Churchill once said, “Empires of the future will be empires of the mind”. I would like to believe that without the mind, there is no future. Likewise, without the Shariah mind, there is no future of Islamic finance.
- As for me, moving forward, I would continue finding a purpose in everything I do or plan to do to ensure Islamic finance is always great, trendy, purposeful, impactful and most importantly relatable to everyone living on this blue planet.
Sekian Sahajalah Persembahan Ucapan Menjunjung Kasih Patik. Sekali Lagi Patik Dengan Penuh Hormat Dan Takzim, Merafak Sembah Menjunjung Kasih Yang Tidak Terhingga, Atas Limpah Perkenan Kebawah Duli Yang Maha Mulia Seri Paduka Baginda Yang Di-Pertuan Agong; Kebawah Duli Yang Maha Mulia Seri Paduka Baginda Raja Permaisuri Agong; Duli Yang Maha Mulia Paduka Seri Sultan Perak Darul Ridzuan Dan Duli Yang Maha Mulia Raja Permaisuri Perak Darul Ridzuan Bercemar Duli Berangkat Ke Majlis Pada Hari Ini.
Sekian, Wabillahitaufik Walhidayah Wassalamualaikum Warahmatullahi Wabarakatuh.