DPM wants Malaysians to tap Mideast market

  • Nation
  • Tuesday, 27 Feb 2007


MADINAH: Master Arabic and specialise in Islamic banking and finance to tap into the lucrative Middle East market, said Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak. 

The Deputy Prime Minister said that of late there had been a lot of interest in Malaysia from countries like Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Bahrain. 

He said the Saudis had set up the Al Rajhi Bank in Malaysia, which was expected to have 50 branches over the next few years, while Kuwait Finance House was aggressively seeking opportunities in the country. 

Bahrain, too, was interested to invest in Islamic banking in Malaysia, he added. 

Photo memento: A student taking a snapshot of his friend as Najib passes by during a dinner function in Madinah last Sunday. --Bernama

Calling these developments “encouraging,” Najib said there was a need to develop human capital and skills in these relevant areas. 

“If you have skills in Arabic, Islamic knowledge combined with Islamic banking, then you possess a very dynamic expertise,” he told Malaysian students here last Sunday night. 

On another matter, Najib warned about the tendency to associate Islam with terrorism, backwardness and conflict.  

This, he added, has resulted in Muslims being discriminated against and viewed with suspicion and doubt. 

Citing the Palestinians, he said they were still being colonised and had not been able to form their own sovereign state while the Al Aqsa mosque there, which is one of the holiest houses of worship for the Muslims, was not in their control either. 

“That is the situation today. Ask ourselves, what is the source of this? It is from our own flaws and weaknesses. 

“I do not dismiss that there are others who might apply pressure to Muslims when they have the chance and we have seen this happen. 

“But what do we do and what should we do?” asked the Deputy Prime Minister, adding that the Muslim world should unite. 

Differences in the way of practising the faith should be seen as just taking “different lanes on the same highway to the same destination.” 

“These differences should not cause conflict. Shi'ite or Sunni, there should be no differences.” 

He encouraged all Muslims to go out and acquire and master knowledge, particularly in science, technology and innovation.  

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