KUALA LUMPUR: Despite its position as an Islamic finance hub, Malaysia still has a long way to go in terms of financial literacy among the community.
As a global leader in Islamic finance, Malaysia needed to continue its momentum of introducing innovative products and services, said Deputy Finance Minister Datuk Johari Abdul Ghani (pic).
“However, Islamic financial education remains a pressing challenge for industry players as well as individuals. In terms of Islamic products and services, we are global market leaders.
“We are in need of more talent to further develop innovative products,” he told reporters yesterday.
He said industry players needed to do more to narrow the knowledge gap among Malaysians in terms of financial literacy and financial planning.
“This is important for us to remain as market leader in the world as far as islamic finance is concerned. We want to encourage institutions to take the initiative to train more Malaysians,” he said after speaking at the Malaysian Financial Planning Council’s international conference on Wealth Management and Financial Planning yesterday.
He said young Malaysians needed to be equipped with good financial planning skills to enable them to make sound and informed financial decisions.
“This is important, particularly in light of our substantial household debt, which accounts for 89% of GDP. Financial literacy is increasingly significant not only to those who are involved in the financial field but also applies to every individual as a tool to manage his money accordingly,” he said.
Johari added that many Malaysians were still falling for scams and get-rich-quick schemes because they did not understand financial products.
“They spend all their money and end up losing everything. Some of them are even graduates, and professionals, but they still fall for such schemes because their knowledge on finance and the financial system in not solid,” he added.
On another matter, Johari said the current inflow of funds to Malaysia was because investors could see that the fundamentals of the country were still strong.
“The only thing is, we must always maintain or create confidence among the investors.
“Investors don’t like uncertainty. We are sometimes too political; we are too focused on politics.
“We need politics, but it cannot be an every day affair. It is important at this time when we want to improve our economy, we must create the confidence and only then investors will come in,” he said.