Some thoughts on resetting the roles and functions of Shari'ah committees of Islamic banks in Malaysia

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The purpose of this study is to understand and evaluate the roles and functions of the Shari'ah committee (SC) of Islamic banks (IBs) in Malaysia and to recommend a resetting of the scope of responsibilities to enable the SC to effectively respond to current market needs. A Likert-type survey questionnaire was developed and distributed to all available SC members through e-mails and online surveys as well as self-administered questionnaires. At the end of the survey, 87 useable questionnaires were collected from 161 SC members, representing a 54% response rate. This study finds that most SC members have the necessary Shari'ah qualification, and they are mostly academics with doctoral degrees. However, there is a noticeable lack of diversity in the composition of experts in the committees. Respondents indicate that their main functions are to ensure Shari'ah compliance of bank operations and product offerings. This is of course consistent with their stated functions as outlined in the Bank Negara Malaysia's Shari'ah Governance Policy Document (BNM, 2019). The study finds that SCs are not involved in product development, nor responsible for financial performance. Respondents indicate three ways to enhance the role of SCs: improving banking knowledge of the members, more engagement with the board of directors (BoDs) and broadening the functions of SCs. This study highlights two policy implications. First, there is a strategic need for IBs to consider having a diversity of expertise in the SCs while maintaining the Shari?ah experts as core members. Second, this study recommends a reset of the scope of duties of the SC to include three new areas: risk management, product development and financial performance.
Islamic banks , Shari'ah committee , Shari'ah compliance , Malaysia
Isa, M., Lee, S., Bacha, O. I., & Ahmad, R. (2022). Some thoughts on resetting the roles and functions of Shari'ah committees of Islamic banks in Malaysia. ISRA International Journal of Islamic Finance, 14(2), 175-189.
Emerald Publishing Limited

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