A Reconsideration of Middle Eastern Islamic Bank Practices in Malaysia

  • Hideki Kitamura National University of Malaysia


Middle Eastern Islamic banks’ contributions to product development in Malaysia have been frequently highlighted; nonetheless, there has been a research gap on the adaptation of foreign Islamic banks to the Malaysian market. This study examines this aspect through a case study of the practices of Kuwait Finance House Malaysia Berhad (KFHMB) among these foreign banks. The results of this exploration highlight the impact of Malaysian business customs and culture on KFHMB’s banking product selection, especially on the retail banking side. The findings herein imply that regional differences in products between Malaysia and the Middle East derive from differences in market environments rather than from mere differences in Islamic jurisprudence, as previous studies claim. Ultimately, this study asserts the value of an ethnographic approach to studying Islamic banks’ adaptation to foreign markets, especially considering the KFHMB’s dilemma of facing religious ideals versus market realities.

Author Biography

Hideki Kitamura, National University of Malaysia
Hideki Kitamura is a postgraduate student at Institute of Ethnic Studies (KITA), The National University of Malaysia (UKM). The National University of Malaysia [Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia], Institute of Ethnic Studies. Bangi, Selangor, 43600, Malaysia. Compliance with Ethical Standards: got the permission of disclosure of informants’ interview data. No financial support for this paper.


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