Muslim countries must work together to spur their development, says Anwar

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim (right), Indonesian vice-president Prof Dr Ma'ruf Amin (centre) and Sarawak Premier Tan Sri Abang Johari Tun Openg arriving at the Global Muslim Business Forum's gala dinner in Kuching on Tuesday (Nov 28) night. - ZULAZHAR SHEBLEE/The Star

KUCHING: Muslim countries need to enhance their collaboration to strengthen development and growth in sectors such as the halal industry and Islamic finance, says Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.

The Prime Minister said there was huge potential to upscale Islamic financial services globally as well as halal production.

"There is a need for inclusivity, to free ourselves from isolation and seek opportunities to collaborate instead of competing," he said at the Global Muslim Business Forum's gala dinner here on Tuesday (Nov 28) night.

In this respect, Anwar said Malaysia was fortunate that its neighbour Indonesia had taken the position to collaborate and complement one another.

Similarly, he said there were efforts with Brunei and Thailand to seek ways of fostering better relationships, investment and trade.

He also called for further collaboration with Indonesia in the halal sector.

"Many countries want to recognise halal certification and support the halal industry because of its huge market potential, not only in the Middle East but also in Europe and Africa," he said.

Anwar also said the forum was a good effort to provide a platform for focus and action to address global challenges including climate change and civil strife.

In view of Malaysia's multiracial society, he also called on the forum to appreciate the need for Interfaith dialogue and collaboration.

"This is something we need to continue to propagate," he added.

Also present was Indonesian vice-president Prof Dr Ma'ruf Amin.

Sarawak Premier Tan Sri Abang Johari Tun Openg said the outlook for the global Islamic economy was good, with demand for halal goods and services expected to rise in tandem with global spending forecast to hit USD2.8 trillion in 2025.

In this respect, he said Sarawak wanted to be part of the global supply chain of Muslim economies, not only to provide halal products and services but also solutions to address global challenges such as climate change and food security.

"We are developing our ecosystem to transform Sarawak's economy, offering vast investment and business opportunities for the world," he said.

The three-day forum was hosted by the Sarawak government and organised by KSI Strategic Institute for Asia Pacific, the Islamic Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Agriculture and UK-based women's NGO Global One.

Themed "Innovations and Transformation in Islamic Economies," it was attended by 1,000 participants, including 36 speakers from over 30 countries.

The forum aimed to foster international partnerships and sustainable development, besides serving as a hub for Islamic learning and supporting the green economy.

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