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Saturday April 10, 2010

Malaysia can promote Islamic entrepreneurship

zaza@thestar.com.my

JOHOR BARU: Malaysia can play the role of moderator in promoting entrepreneurship in the Islamic context in the Western world.

Oxford University’s Said Business School Fellow in Entrepreneurship Dr Pegram Harrison said Malaysia, which was well known in the West as a moderate Islamic country, fitted the bill.

“Malaysia is a non-threatening element in the Western world unlike some other Islamic countries; hence it will be more successful in creating a better understanding between the two,” he told journalists after delivering a talk in the Business Jihad Lecture Series III: Developing Entrepreneurship in an Islamic Context, organised by Johor Corp (JCorp) and Malaysian Islamic Chamber of Commerce.

He said JCorp was the best model in Malaysia on how a business conglomerate had successfully adapted Islamic principles in doing business and applied them in the day-to-day operations.

Oxford University's Said Business School, Fellow in Entrepreneurship Dr Pegram Harrison (left) with Johor Corp senior vice-president (Intraprenuer Development) Rozan Mohd Saat during the Q & A, session of the Business Jihad Lecture Series III organised by Johor Corp and Malaysian Islamic Chamber of Commerce

Harrison said there was a need to have regular dialogues between Islamic and non-Islamic organisations including business entities on how they could work together for the benefits of the society.

“The Islamic economic system is not in itself complete, it is part of the overall system of life; Islam itself encourages its ummah (followers) to engage in trade,” he said.

Quoting the famous hadith by Imam al-Ghazali “Encouraged upon you is trade, for in it is nine out of 10 parts of your sustenance”, Harrison added that Islam acknowledged that the best way to get wealth and sustenance was trade.

He said as a model Islamic country, Malaysia would be in a better position to promote and develop entrepreneurship based on Islamic principles to the Western world.

Harrison said there was no reason for the Western world to oppose Islamic business practices as Western countries accepted the Islamic banking system in view of the global financial crisis which started in September 2008.

However, he said the task was not easy as the Western countries had developed a negative image of Islam especially towards the word “jihad” which to them meant Holy War or Crusade against Christians.

Harrison is an academic and programme development professional with 10 years’ experience in major UK and US universities, companies and think-tanks.

He holds degrees from Yale and Cambridge, and earned his MBA at London Business School in 2000.

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