NEW STRAITS TIMES ONLINE, 3rd September 2014 KUALA LUMPUR: Former banker, Datuk Dr Abdul Halim Ismail was named the recipient of the prestigious Royal Award for Islamic Finance last night, for his role in establishing the organisational structure and operating procedures of the country’s first Islamic bank in 1983. Dr Abdul Halim, the first Malay-sian to receive the award, walked away with a medallion, a certificate of recognition and US$250,000 (RM792, 500). The award was presented by Yang di-Pertuan Agong Tuanku Abdul Halim Mu’adzam Shah at a gala dinner, here, held in conjunction with the Global Islamic Finance Forum (GIFF) 2014. GIFF is a high-level event that brings together regulators, scholars and financial industry players who are key drivers in the global development of Islamic finance. Dr Abdul Halim said Islamic finance is deeply connected with the real economy, offering ethical investments and funding options for businesses. He said the principles of Islamic finance also encourage inclusiveness and collaboration to create a fair and equitable financial system that is accessible to all. “I am honoured to receive the Royal Award and am looking forward to continuing my journey to increase awareness, understanding and appreciation of Islamic finance around the world,” he said. Dr Abdul Halim was the managing director of Bank Islam and chairman of the board of Syarikat Takaful Malaysia, the country’s first Islamic insurance company. In 1994, he helped set up BIMB Securities, the first Islamic stockbroking company in Malaysia. Under his stewardship, both the industry and financial institutions flourished, making Islamic finance an increasingly attractive alternative and complement to conventional finance. His vision and leadership also steered Bank Islam towards a successful Islamic financial institution.