Tuesday, March 31, 2009

No Chance for Singapore

In recent years, Singapore has been on a mission to make our country the regional hub for almost every industry there is. We had aimed to be the education hub, the medical hub, the convention hub of Southeast Asia. There’s probably a few more I had missed out.

I don’t agree with this policy of trying to be everything at the same time. However, Singapore’s latest try to be the regional hub for Islamic banking takes the cake.

Now I know there’s a market for Islamic banking, insurance and business but there’s just no way Singapore is going to be a hub for Islamic banking in the region. We are surrounded by Malaysia (with a robust Islamic banking industry) up north and Indonesia (with the biggest Muslim population in the world) down south, so why in the world would any Islamic bank want to do business here in Singapore?

Singapore may be desperate for new business and for new growth engines but we should forget about Islamic banking. Singapore is way behind Malaysia already and we have no chance to catch up. If there is any Islamic banks coming to the region, there will go to Malaysia or Indonesia.

Let’s concentrate on other business instead. Islamic banking in a no-go industry for Singapore.

No comments: