Press Releases

Mishal Kanoo expresses concerns at Alternative Investments in Asia Forum
Dubai: September 30, 2010

Dubai: September 30, 2010 - Mishal Kanoo, Deputy Chairman of The Kanoo Group, one of the biggest independent companies in the Gulf region which runs diversified businesses from oil and gas, travel, shipping, machinery and logistics, addressed almost 600 people at the “Dawn of the New Decade: Alternative Investments in Asia” conference in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia on September 28, 2010.

The Kanoo Group Deputy, Mishal Kanoo said the main concern of foreign investors is the regulation with regards to Bumiputera interest.

"Other than that, the country has a good track record and I think it should market its Islamic financial products and services more aggressively”, Mishal Kanoo said.

Malaysia is on the right track to become the preferred investment destination in Asia but it needs to leverage on its competitive advantages to gain foreign investments, according to industry experts. The views expressed in the panel on Malaysia's potential in terms of foreign investment in the region at the alternative investments in Asia forum, which ended Tuesday.

“Malaysia should take advantage of its international reputation as the global leader in islamic finance. Apart from Bahrain, Malaysia is the centre of global Islamic finance now as marketing and branding activities of that industry are centered here”, Mishal Kanoo said.

Likening the government’s pro-Bumiputera policies to covering one perceived “sin” with another, only competition could ensure that the country developed the best products and achieved the best results.

“I don’t mean competition as in nasty but competition [in the sense] that I want to be there or I am there because I deserve to be there, rather than because somebody has taken my hand or I was born under a certain star. These things should be taken away so that the best and the brightest become the best and the brightest not because they know there’s no competition [but] because they know there is competition and that they are better than the competition. That’s what drives things”, Mishal added.

Drawing parallels between Bumiputera equity quotas and Saudi Arabia’s policy of “Saudisation”, Mishal Kanoo said such requirements were an unnecessary “extra hassle” that only burdened potential foreign investors wanting to do business in Malaysia.

However, he pointed out that Malaysia was still regarded highly by the Islamic world, and remained well-positioned to leverage its competitive advantages as the premier Islamic financial centre outside of Bahrain and potential international hub for Islamic food marketing.

The Kanoo Group has partnership with Malaysia’s CIMB in the CIMB-Kanoo Islamic Investment Company.

The inaugural conference was convened by International Herald Tribune and The London Speaker Bureau.