Putrajaya, 18 Jan 2016 – A ceremony acknowledging the efforts of researchers spearheading the Malaysia Syariah Index (MSI) research was held at the Sri Perdana Purtrajaya Complex this afternoon. The guest of honour was YAB Dato’ Seri Mohd Najib Tun Haji Abdul Razak, the Prime Minister of Malaysia, who also launched the MSI on 10 February 2015 at the Putrajaya International Convention Centre (PICC), Putrajaya.

MSI is an index developed to measure and assess Malaysia’s efforts in achieving the five objectives of Maqasid Al-Syari’ah, namely, in the preservation of religion, life, lineage, intellect and property.

Towards the endeavor to measure MSI, the Government of Malaysia through the Malaysian Islamic Development Department (JAKIM) appointed eight research groups to study eight focus areas. Five public universities (UA) were appointed to undertake the study. The five universities are Universiti Teknologi Malaysia, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, Universiti Utara Malaysia, International Islamic University Malaysia and Universiti Sains Islam Malaysia.

UTM was entrusted by the Malaysia Government to conduct three studies comprising assessing the MSI of the Environmental and Infrastructure sector, led by Assoc. Prof. Dr. Syed Ahmad Iskandar Syed Ariffin; MSI of the Social sector led by Assoc. Prof. Dr. Kassim bin Tukiman; MSI of the Culture sector, led by Assoc. Prof. Dr. Arieff Salleh bin Rosman, with total grants amounting to RM270,000.

Results of the study showed that the MSI for the Malaysia Environmental and Infrastructure sector stood at 62.31, which is deemed to be at the moderate level. This suggests that the government could take further initiatives in enhancing the environment and infrastructure in Malaysia.

Likewise, the overall MSI for the Malaysia Social environment was also found to be at the moderate level with and index of 68.53. Thus it would be beneficial if the government were to capitalize on the findings and further enhance existing social policies, so that the policies meet the objectives of maqasid syariah, thereby contributing towards the development of the Muslim Ummah.

The MSI research projects involving cross-disciplinary UTM experts, is the initiative of the UTM Centre for Fiqh Research in Science and Technology (CFiRST), with the project grants managed by UTM Institut Sultan Iskandar (ISI).