Hong Kong News

Nonpartisan, Noncommercial, unconstrained.
Thursday, Jun 13, 2024

Hong Kong’s ESG strength can help Malaysia grow Islamic finance sector: Zafrul

Hong Kong’s ESG strength can help Malaysia grow Islamic finance sector: Zafrul

Trade minister Tengku Zafrul Aziz says Malaysia’s leadership in Islamic finance means it is well positioned to support Hong Kong’s interest in the sector.

Malaysia is keen on leveraging Hong Kong’s financial hub status to grow its own sizeable footprint in the Islamic finance industry while supporting the city’s ambitions in the US$2.2 trillion sector, Kuala Lumpur’s trade tsar has said.

In Hong Kong for a two-day official visit, Minister of International Trade and Industry Tengku Zafrul Aziz said on Tuesday that cooperation in the financial sector as well as possible talent exchanges between both economies featured during his talks with the city’s officials.

Zafrul held talks with Hong Kong’s Chief Executive John Lee Ka-chiu and Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development Algernon Yau Ying-wah, and on Tuesday took part in a dialogue session with business executives.



 Speaking to This Week in Asia, Zafrul said Lee had during their talks pitched opportunities for Malaysian businesses not just in Hong Kong but also in the Greater Bay Area.

Noting that Hong Kong’s status as a major financial centre would be key to helping Malaysian companies in fundraising, Zafrul said Kuala Lumpur was particularly interested in tapping the city’s maturity in environmental, social and governance (ESG) investing.

Islamic finance, which bans outright monetary speculation and interest payments, was similar in nature to ESG principles, Zafrul said.

The question of talent, especially in the digital sector, came up during talks with Commerce Secretary Yau, Zafrul said.

“We want to see how we can look at sharing of this talent with people mobility,” the minister said, noting however that any immediate “exchange programme” involving the sector would be difficult as both Malaysia and Hong Kong were facing a crunch in top-tier tech talent.

In the event organised by the Malaysian Chamber of Commerce for Hong Kong and Macau, Zafrul said he believed that “Malaysia – given its well-acknowledged global leadership in Islamic finance – is well positioned to support Hong Kong’s interest to expand in the field of Islamic finance”.

“We know that Islamic finance is a natural fit for ESG financing,” he said, noting that ESG assets are on track to exceed US$50 trillion by 2025, representing more than a third of the projected $140.5 trillion in total global assets under management.

“There is so much potential in this space for Malaysia and Hong Kong to collaborate, particularly in supporting Asian countries to decarbonise their economies and/or embrace ESG principles,” Zafrul said.

Shoppers and food vendors at a market in Kuala Lumpur. The halal economy is another area for cooperation between Malaysia and Hong Kong.


The halal economy, involving goods and services that are permissible to Muslims, was another area for cooperation, the minister said. “We can work together to channel capital into industries and the supply chain that feeds into the global halal economy,” he said.

On the digital economy front, enhanced cooperation could involve not just e-commerce and digital trade but also the financing of start-ups, he said.

Zafrul fielded a wide array of questions, including on the ongoing US-China rivalry and Malaysia’s receptiveness towards overseas talent.

Sweeping changes enacted in 2021 to a once-popular long-term visa scheme – Malaysia My Second Home (MM2H) – were also broached, with the Malaysian chamber’s chairman Gan Khai Choon urging the minister to revert the plan to its original form.

The changes included shortening the visa’s validity period to five years instead of 10, and significant increases in the income criteria.

GDS Holdings is expected to open a 100-megawatt data centre in Malaysia in July.


Zafrul said similar questions about MM2H were raised by the Malaysian chamber of commerce in Beijing during Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim’s visit to the mainland last week.

Zafrul, who was part of the high-powered delegation Anwar brought to Beijing, said the prime minister had indicated he would discuss the matter with the Home Ministry, which administers the scheme.

“In terms of talent, we are opening up, we have to finalise this but we are ready to be more liberal in terms of accepting foreign talent into Malaysia, especially [in sectors] where such talent is not available,” the minister said.

Zafrul was also asked about Amazon’s recent confirmation of a US$6 billion investment in Malaysia to develop data centres – a move that observers have read as a strong vote of confidence in Anwar’s administration.

Anwar, a long-time campaigner for multiracialism, came to power following a deadlocked election last November with the backing of a broad coalition that includes some of his Malay nationalist arch-rivals.

Zafrul said “similar investments” in data centres were expected to be announced by other firms.

GDS Holdings, the China-based holding company mainly engaged in developing and operating high-performance data centres, in July will open a 100-megawatt data centre in Malaysia, he said.

Zafrul said there would be strong “spillover effects” in the digital economy from the siting of data centres in Malaysia as firms take advantage of the “right skill sets” and the “right energy” needed for their operations.

Demand for data centres has boomed in Asia in the last few years, but there have been concerns about the kind of energy that is used to power them. A 100-megawatt data centre uses the same amount of energy as about 80,000 US homes, and the International Energy Agency has said data centres and data transmission networks are responsible for about 1 per cent of energy-related global greenhouse gas emissions.

Malaysia’s neighbour Singapore last year lifted a nearly three-year moratorium on the development of new data centres but put in place more stringent criteria on energy usage and cooling methods.

Newsletter

Related Articles

Hong Kong News
0:00
0:00
Close
It's always the people with the dirty hands pointing their fingers
Paper straws found to contain long-lasting and potentially toxic chemicals - study
FTX's Bankman-Fried headed for jail after judge revokes bail
Blackrock gets half a trillion dollar deal to rebuild Ukraine
Steve Jobs' Son Launches Venture Capital Firm With $200 Million For Cancer Treatments
Google reshuffles Assistant unit, lays off some staffers, to 'supercharge' products with A.I.
End of Viagra? FDA approved a gel against erectile dysfunction
UK sanctions Russians judges over dual British national Kara-Murza's trial
US restricts visa-free travel for Hungarian passport holders because of security concerns
America's First New Nuclear Reactor in Nearly Seven Years Begins Operations
Southeast Asia moves closer to economic unity with new regional payments system
Political leader from South Africa, Julius Malema, led violent racist chants at a massive rally on Saturday
Today Hunter Biden’s best friend and business associate, Devon Archer, testified that Joe Biden met in Georgetown with Russian Moscow Mayor's Wife Yelena Baturina who later paid Hunter Biden $3.5 million in so called “consulting fees”
'I am not your servant': IndiGo crew member, passenger get into row over airline meal
Singapore Carries Out First Execution of a Woman in Two Decades Amid Capital Punishment Debate
Spanish Citizenship Granted to Iranian chess player who removed hijab
US Senate Republican Mitch McConnell freezes up, leaves press conference
Speaker McCarthy says the United States House of Representatives is getting ready to impeach Joe Biden.
San Francisco car crash
This camera man is a genius
3D ad in front of Burj Khalifa
Next level gaming
BMW driver…
Google testing journalism AI. We are doing it already 2 years, and without Google biased propoganda and manipulated censorship
Unlike illegal imigrants coming by boats - US Citizens Will Need Visa To Travel To Europe in 2024
Musk announces Twitter name and logo change to X.com
The politician and the journalist lost control and started fighting on live broadcast.
The future of sports
Unveiling the Black Hole: The Mysterious Fate of EU's Aid to Ukraine
Farewell to a Music Titan: Tony Bennett, Renowned Jazz and Pop Vocalist, Passes Away at 96
Alarming Behavior Among Florida's Sharks Raises Concerns Over Possible Cocaine Exposure
Transgender Exclusion in Miss Italy Stirs Controversy Amidst Changing Global Beauty Pageant Landscape
Joe Biden admitted, in his own words, that he delivered what he promised in exchange for the $10 million bribe he received from the Ukraine Oil Company.
TikTok Takes On Spotify And Apple, Launches Own Music Service
Global Trend: Using Anti-Fake News Laws as Censorship Tools - A Deep Dive into Tunisia's Scenario
Arresting Putin During South African Visit Would Equate to War Declaration, Asserts President Ramaphosa
Hacktivist Collective Anonymous Launches 'Project Disclosure' to Unearth Information on UFOs and ETIs
Typo sends millions of US military emails to Russian ally Mali
Server Arrested For Theft After Refusing To Pay A Table's $100 Restaurant Bill When They Dined & Dashed
The Changing Face of Europe: How Mass Migration is Reshaping the Political Landscape
China Urges EU to Clarify Strategic Partnership Amid Trade Tensions
The Last Pour: Anchor Brewing, America's Pioneer Craft Brewer, Closes After 127 Years
Democracy not: EU's Digital Commissioner Considers Shutting Down Social Media Platforms Amid Social Unrest
Sarah Silverman and Renowned Authors Lodge Copyright Infringement Case Against OpenAI and Meta
Why Do Tech Executives Support Kennedy Jr.?
The New York Times Announces Closure of its Sports Section in Favor of The Athletic
BBC Anchor Huw Edwards Hospitalized Amid Child Sex Abuse Allegations, Family Confirms
Florida Attorney General requests Meta CEO's testimony on company's platforms' alleged facilitation of illicit activities
The Distorted Mirror of actual approval ratings: Examining the True Threat to Democracy Beyond the Persona of Putin
40,000 child slaves in Congo are forced to work in cobalt mines so we can drive electric cars.
×