20 July 2016, Kuala Lumpur: INCEIF today has the honour of hosting the Minister of Education of the Republic of Maldives Dr Aishath Shiham on campus for an official visit. On hand to welcome her were INCEIF Deputy President Operations Mr Dzalin Ayub, Deputy President Academics Prof Datuk Syed Othman Alhabshi and School of Professional Studies Dean Mr Ezamshah Ismail.
The visit was to further strengthen the current collaboration between INCEIF and Maldives which sees the university playing a significant role in delivering Islamic finance knowledge to Maldivians in their country. Since Sep 2014, INCEIF and Maldives’ Capital Market Development Authority in collaboration with Islamic University of Maldives (IUM) are offering an opportunity for Maldivians to pursue the Masters in Islamic Finance Practice in Maldives.
Today’s meeting seek to further the collaboration including the possibility of the Maldives government offering scholarships for its citizens to pursue INCEIF’s academic programmes. In addition to the MIFP, INCEIF also offers MSc in Islamic Finance and PhD in Islamic Finance. INCEIF, on its part, would like to contribute towards the enhancement of IF knowledge in the country.
In April this year, a high level delegation from Maldives was in Kuala Lumpur to seek technical assistance to develop the newly established Maldives Center for Islamic Finance, an entity that was established with the objective of strategising and promoting Maldives as the hub for Islamic finance and the Halal industry in South Asia. Maldives is a 100% Muslim country but Islamic finance is still a new concept in the country. In 2003, when Amana Takaful Maldives started its operations, Takaful was introduced and it took eight years for the country to establish the first Islamic bank which is jointly owned by the government and the Islamic Corporation for the Development of the Private Sector, the private sector arm of the Islamic Development Bank.
The country also established an Islamic capital market framework with their own Shariah screening methodology. The first corporate Sukuk of the country was issued in 2013 by Housing Development Finance Corporation while the government has also issued private Sukuk and Islamic treasury instruments since 2013. Over the past five years, the growth of Islamic finance in the country is commendable as there are now 13 financial institutions offering Islamic products in the country, reflecting the demand and practical viability of Islamic finance.