DUBAI, Oct 28 – Maybank Islamic Bhd will collaborate with Majlis Agama Islam Wilayah Persekutuan (MAIWP) for a high-impact initiative, which is set to make it the prime catalyst in developing and broadening the horizon of Waqf. Maybank Islamic will provide RM20 million seed capital to the Waqf Fund which will invest in portfolios including fixed income, equities, balanced fund and real estate.

MAIWP will be the trustee of the fund and Maybank Islamic the project manager. Maybank Islamic chief executive officer, Muzaffar Hisham, said this latest initiative was to further enhance the bank’s agenda to humanise financial services and support the government’s commitment towards a more equitable and broad-based economic growth.

Islamic finance, he said, was already seen as a potential catalyst for improving access to finance, particularly to alleviate poverty and promote entrepreneurialism, and the unique redistributive instrument such as Waqf aptly fulfilled this agenda, he said. “At the start of the project, Maybank Islamic will be the initial donor (waqif) but for future phases, we are open to contributions from individuals or companies wanting to participate in the Waqf Fund,” he said.

He said with an asset size of RM132.3 billion as at June 30, 2014 and its zakat distribution progressing well, Maybank Islamic now intended to become the prime catalyst in developing and broadening the horizon of Waqf. The announcement of the Waqf Fund was made on the sidelines of the 10th World Islamic Economic Forum here today.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak witnessed the exchange of documents between both parties. Also present were Maybank Islamic chairman Datuk Seri Ismail Shahudin, and MAIWP chief executive officer Datuk Zainal Abidin Jaffar. Profits, or capital yield, from the investment portfolio will be used to fund programmes related to development of educational and healthcare infrastructures, as well as to develop young entrepreneurs.

Waqf is an endowment made by Muslims to a religious, educational and charitable cause and Corporate Waqf is fast becoming an emerging model to mobilise cash Waqf of private corporations to the best use to bring about maximum benefit. Corporate Waqf also provides a sustainable and significant size of funds that may enable their programmes to create significant impact.

Elaborating on the Waqf Fund, Muzaffar said, cash flows from the funding activities would be re-injected into the Waqf Fund. He said that as project manager, Maybank Islamic would appoint a fund manager to manage the Waqf Fund to ensure its sustainability and perpetuity and the bank would execute the proposed Waqf project.

“Waqf is one of the potential investments which can be developed to fund various economic activities for the benefit of the community. The perpetual nature of Waqf makes it a highly effective platform for sustainable economic growth,” said Muzaffar. Maybank Islamic is Asean’s leading Islamic bank and is the largest Islamic commercial bank in Malaysia with a market share of 31 per cent of Islamic financing and deposit of 25 per cent.

As at the first half period of the financial year ending June 30 2014, Maybank Islamic’s total assets stood at RM132.3 billion, which registered a growth of 26 per cent year-on-year. MAIWP is the sole trustee of all Waqf assets in the Federal Territory.

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