Proposal for an Intergatred Marketing Model of Musharakah Financing to Help Disadvantaged Fishing People in Malaysia

Cranfield University

This paper was presented in a workshop jointly organised by Cranfield University, School of Management, The Enterprise Development Centre, England and The Arab Foundation For Enterprise Development, Cairo, July 10-13, 1995. The Safir Hotel, Cairo, Egypt.


This applied research work is new and one of its kind in Malaysia. It seeks to identify the casuses for prolonged condition of poverty in the fishing villages of Malaysia despite vigorous efforts by numerous government and non-government bodies. It introduces the Islamic financial model, Musharakah (partnership) as an interqrated approach to qrassroots development in the fishinq industry.

The proposed “integrated marketing model of musharakah financing” has certain objectives to achieve. Firstly, to minimize the role of middlemen so as to improve the income of the fishermen to enable them to stay in the rural areas. Secondly, to promote a more efficient way of marketing and distribution of fish. Thirdly, to provide new opportunities to the fishermen and their families to activiely involve in the economic well being through participation in income generating project and a critical thinking programme for their welfare


The paper is divided into two-parts. Part one will give a brief explanation about the status of Islamic banking in Malaysia and more specifically the current performance of Bank Islam Malaysia Berhad (BIMB) and how the proposed model fits into this. While, part two will mainly focus about the proposal for integrated Musharakah Marketing Model to help disadvantaged fishing people in Malaysia.

The Islamic Banking Act 1983 came into effect on March 11, 1983 which modelled on the existing Act 1973. It paved the way for the establishment of banks based on Islamic principles to fill the void in the existing banking system; to meet the banking and credit needs of the Muslim population in Malaysia in accordance to the rules of Shariah which prohibits riba (interest) .

Bank Islam Malaysia Bhd (BIMB) , was incorporated on March 1983 and commenced operations on July 1, 1983 with a branch in Kuala Lumpur. Subsequently, 28 branches were opened throughout Malaysia, bringing the total number to 29 at the end of December 1991. To date, BIMB has three subsidiaries and 33 branches located mainly in the urban areas throughout Malaysia.

The mission of the bank is to operate as a cornmerical bank functioning on the basis of Islamic principles, providing banking facilities and services to Muslims and the whole population of Malaysia, with viability and capability to sustain itself and grow in the process. Its objectives are as follows:

  1. To provide its customers with Islamic banking facilities and services of the highest possible quality.
  2. To attain viability and sufficient level of profitability to sustain growth.
  3. To develop and foster a competent and innovative management imbibed with high standard of integrity and Islamic banking professionalism.
  4. To develop a motivated work-force inculcated with the appropriate ethics, fully committed to the bank and providing efficient and courteous service to the customers.
  5. To constantly strive to protect ots shareholders’ interest
  6. To be always conscious of its responsibilities and duties as an Islamic corporate citizen.

What we are interesting here is to see how BIMB uses its fund. Therefore, the applications of fund as follows:

(1) Equity Financing

a.. Mudarabah (Trustee Profit Sharing) ; and
b. Musharakah (Joint-Venture Profit Sharing) .

(2) Term Financing

Bai Bithaman Ajil (Deferred Instalment Sale) .

(3) Trade Financing

  1. Letters of credit Wakalah (Agency) ;
    b. Letters of credit Murabaha (Deferred Lump Sum Sale) ;
    c. Letters of credit Musharakah (Joint-Venture Profit Sharing) ;
    d. Murabaha Working Capital Financing (Deferred Lump-Sum Sale) ;
    e. Islamic Accepted Bill;
    f. Islamic Credit Refinancing;
    g. Investment; and
    h. Musharakah (Joint-Venture Profit Sharing) .

Modes of Financing 

Generally speaking, the modes of financing of Bank Islam Malaysia’s, is important to the researcher because it will give us a picture how BIMB has utilized its resources to generate revenues. A1-Harran argues that current Islamic banks have no problems in terms of mobilization of resources but the real test in the eyes of the public, is the utilization. Its five most important mode of financing are Bai Bithaman Ajil, Murabaha, Ijarah, Mudarabah and Musharakah.

Bai Bitharnan Ajil (BBA) claimed the highest share of total financing. It increased from 49.1 per cent in 1984 to 78.7 per cent in 1987 and decreased slightly to 73.7 per cent in 1991 (Table 1) .This is followed by murabaha, although it had declined from 37.2 per cent to 15.0 per cent, that is by 13.2 per cent over the same. period.


Bai Bithaman Ajil and murabaha are similar in terms of its operations with the exception that the former recognizes payments in instalments. These modes of finaning are criticized because of the resemblance of their profit margins to interest. Some Islamic bankers agreed that BAi Bithaman Ajil and murabaha should be

phased out and be replaced by other financial instruments which are more equitable to both the borrowers and the lenders(1).

Chapra argues that murabaha is an easy way out for Islamic banks interested in abolishing riba, but it puts the entire risk of financing onto the borrowers(2). Therefore, this mode of financing should be played down in favour of other mode of financing like mudarabah and musharakah.

During the 1984-1991 period, Ijarah (leasing) became more significant in the later years. Starting at 9.3 per cent in 1984, it decreased drastically to 2.9 per cent in 1988 but increased significantly to 13.0 per cent in 1991.

Mudarabah financing represents less than 1 per cent throughout the 1985-1991 period with only once at 3.1 per cent in 1984. Similarly, musharakah financing was at 1.2 per cent in `984 to 2.2 per cent in 1986 and since then declined to 0.01 per cent in 1991.

Mudarabah and musharakah financing are not popular to BIMB’s due to the following three main reasons:

a. There is a lack of honest and trustworthy entrepreneurs: BIMB had been cheated by some of its customers in the past. Some of them did not declare their profits while other did not possess the skill to participate in business.

b. There is a lack of medium- and long term funds which is one of the conditions for mudarabah and musharakah financings. The major portion of BIMB’s funds are in the short term with the remainder at best in the medium term.

c. Long-term financing involve higher risks and there is a lack of qualified personnal to undertake the operations. Therefore, BIMB is partial towards short-term investment financing. To overcome this problem, Al-Harran has suggested the setting up of an Islamic investment company and an Islamic consultancy house. These companies will first identify the potential sectors such as the manufacturing, construction, services and small-and medium sized industries. They will then evaluate the individual project based on its economic and financial validity and propose it to the bank for fund (3).

From the above brief assessment, many criticism were made by large number of professionals that BIMB’s after thirteen years of experience has not succeeded to create a niche in the Malaysian market (4). Even if one look at the profitability of the bank in terms of returns to shareholders. One can realised that dividends are paid by BIMB’s to shareholders (after making provision for taxes, zakat and statutory reserve funds) is considered to be low (4 percent) in contrast to those paid by Malayan Banking Bhd. (9 percent) and Public Bank Bhd. (6 percent) in 1990. The main issue to be addressed here that BIMB would have to devise financing instrument which are more just to cater not only for the rich industrialists but also for the majority of small Muslim entrepreneurs in the urban areas, the farmers and the fishermen in the rural areas as well as the other middle and low income earners.

Therefore, the author has felt that there is a need to undertake an applied research and select a relevant topic where Islamic financing based on Musharakah could be introduced and that is the problem of marketing of fish in Malaysia.


The problem of marketing in Malaysia fishing industry is not merely the problem of marketing in its narrow definition. The problems of distribution and marketing, weak social structures, negative attitutde of fishing people and ineffectiveness of government programmes cannot be isolated from each other. They are actually interlinked. Thus, the solution does not lie merely in economic and commercial spheres but more significantly, it must foster socio-economic strength, install spiritual values and sense of purposeness in the fishermen. In short, the solutions are geared towards social reformation and reconstruction leading to material and spiritual betterment for the society as a whole.

The fishing industry of marketing in Malaysia is small but remains an important sector of the national economy. It has always been connected with low productivity, a high number of labour utilization and poverty. The causes were related to persistence of traditional and relatively unproductive technology in certain areas, and the relative occupational and geographical immobility of fishermen compared to other occupations.

Therefore there is an urgent need to bring a real socio-economic changes in the status of disadvantaged fishing in Malaysia by introducing a new intergrated marketing model of Musharaka financing. Undoutedly, if the proposed model is properly implemented it can play an important role to uplifting the standard of living of the fishermen. With reasonable income, they will be able to give their children better education, nutrition, shelter and so on.


Mengabang Lekar and Pengkalan Atap Villages, North Terengganu

The district of Batu Rakit has population of about 35,000. The district is comprised of several fishing villages which include the two villages where the field study is conducted at i.e., Pengkalan Atap and Mengaband Lekar. Both these villages cover an area of approximately 10 km. per square metres each. The distance from these villages to the capital town Kuala Terengganu is about 18 miles and the distance to Pulau Kambing is about 17 miles.


This research is done by a team of 23 undergradute students of International Islamic University, Malaysia. Number of Fishermen in Terengganu total labour or fishermen registered is 9800 persons in the industry. Total fishermen villages in Terengganu is twenty three. Fishing zones are on shore zone (more than 5 miles), off shore zone (5-30 miles) deep sea (up to economic zone).

The villages for the study is chosen based on the first research which is done on 9 February 1992. Two out of the 4 kampungs visited before were selected, i.e., kampung Pengkalan Atap and Kampung Mengabang Lekar. The respondents (were 200 put of 220) are randomly selected in these two areas.

Primary data is collected from fishermen on social-economic background and elements which contributed towards the problem of marketing in Malaysian fishing industry. The sample was taken from fishermen of two villages: Pengkalan Atap Village and Mengabang Lekar Village as micro models.

Personal observation was made during the visit and stay at the fishermen villages. Oberservation was made regarding the work and the lives of hte fishermen and his families. The personal interviews are with officers from fishrey Development Authority of Malaysia (LKIM), Fishermen Associations and other related intitutions and individuals, fishermen and the middlemen as well. The primary data collected were analyzed by cross-tabulation method and presented using illustration SPSSPC.


One of the main findings of this applied research apart from others, is that 77.5 per cent of the fishermen corresponded positively to the proposal of musharakah based marketing corporation. Most who accepted this idea are the younger fishermen between the age of 20-30 (34 per cent). This generation

are still full of spirit and hope to have a better living conditions compared to the elderly ones who may have been discouraged due to the failure of other existing government agencies (6) .

Concerning the income, those who earned less than RM350 per month is the prominent group which agrees to the musharakah proposal (60 per cent) .They believe that through participating in this musharakah company, their income can be improved thus changing their living standards.

90 per cent of them admitted they need to get advance for the capital or equity participation. Their small income is insufficient to support their family, what more to save or contribute as capital. 90 per cent of those earning less than RM350 per month expressed their need for advancement for the capital. Similarly, the RM350-RM550 and above RM550 monthly income group also expressed their need for advancement if they were to participate in the proposed musharakah corporation.

From the above finding, it was found that the problems faced by the fishermen are quite crucial while others have given us some valuable suggestions, that is important to be taken into consideration. The paper has put forward some foresights regarding the implementation of a Musharakah financing model as an integrated development approach with special reference to Batu Rakit fishing settlement.


The objective is to lay down the Musharakah model designed not only for material betterment but also spiritual upliftment. The proposed model will became an institution for socio-economic reformation and reconstruction and simultaneously help eradicate povertyamong the fishermen. The success of any development model is directly correlated with the degree of participation of the grassroots in the development process. Hence, this model is integrated in approach by combining the economic as well as social activities. The model also serves to facilitate the transfer Of financial resources from surplus units of community to deficit units. Before, the poor sector have been independent materially and mentally to the capitalists sector.


The Musharakah marketing model should bring a socio-economic change to the fishermen community. The programme should provide a definite outlook on life. It must be action-oriented and comprehensive in order to be effective for social reconstruction.

The project should manifest tht man is an active agent of change who will be responsible to act according to the framework of the divine arrangement. Change consists in environmental change and chage within the heart and soul of man – attitudes, motivation and commitment for the fulfillment of the objectives. Life is a network of inter-relationships and there should be no social disruption and disequilibrium within man and in society.


The model has following objectives :

(i) To provide opportunities and facilities for the poor fishermen mostly in the rural area to participate in the economy in order to ensure self dependence.

(ii) To eradicate poverty in the rural area by ensuring each and every individual, will be able to fulfill their basic need, of foods, clothings and shelter with sound health and minimum education requirement.

(iii) To encourage and generate savings from the poor and rural sector as to protect social security and ensure for better future generation together with better social environment and social order.

(iv) To lay the foundation towards a more disciplined and responsible nation in order to protect national security and stability.


(i) To provide capital to the fishermen to purchase boat, fishing equipments, net and also to provide operation fund. (ii) To provide capital to the fishermen and fishermen’s family to set up small business based on handicraft and cottage industry of fisheries products. (iii) To organize course and training and provide advisory service to the fishermen. (iv) To promote and encourage saving by the fishermen.


The research team propose that the model should incorporate all the parties involve in Malaysian fishing industry. The model can be diagrammatically presented a, in figure:

The research team propose that the model should incorporate into all the important actors in Malaysian fishing industry namely the fishermen, the wholesaler and the retailer, boat owner and the management team (facilitators) .In the Musharakah model, fishermen are viewed as potential assets and as active development agent; unlike in the traditional system where they are assumed as passive, unreliable, lack motivation and are negative-minded.


The Marketing subsidiary company will take over the function of middlemen in traditional marketing system by giving better price for their catches and at the same time to promote for fishermen involvement in the marketing activities in order to make fishermen self-reliant and independent. The marketing subsidiary company is able to offer higher prices to the fishermen because it sells the fish directly to its retailers and wholesalers without going through the various middlemen. All the markup will be accrued to the company. The marketing subsidiary is responsible to promote new channels for marketing fish such as through wholesale market or export terminals. Objective of The Marketing Subsidiary 

(i) To collect and distribute the fishes to various places within the state or outside the state or to be exported to other countries like singapore and Thailand

(ii) To provide the direct link between the producer (fishermen) and the-consumer by reducing the role of middlemen.

(iii) To provide an up-to-date information on market price for the fishermen so that the price will not be easily manipulated by irresponsible middleman

(iv) To encourage the fishermen to be involved in distribution activities as partners or shareholders of the marketing subsidiary.


The scope of production process encompasses all aspects related to improving the methods of fishing, providing boats, equipments and facilities such as ice, transportation, storage and so on. The main aim is to reduce wastage and post-harvest losses besides providing enough supply of fish to meet the demand of consumers. The Musharakah corporation through its marketing subsidiary will simultaneously function to solve the marketing problem. The objectives of the subsidiary are:

(i) To provide vocational training and education among the members in term of fish marketing.

(ii) To modernize fishing industries, technology. i.e., using appropriate technology.

(iii) To provide and arrange for marketing facilities.

(iv) To promote and give assistance in fish market-ing.

(v) To provide channels of distribution for marketing of fishermen products such as from handicrafts, by-product industry and aquaculture industry.



Thus, it is recommended that the Marketing Subsidiary should provide the following facilities:

(a) Transport to all the respective markets
(b) Refrigeration
(c) Warehouse

Even though, the Marketing Subsidiary Company play the role of middlemen, the company does not only became an active competitor in the market but it can stimulate greater participation from the fishermen in marketing activities. Fish will be bought from the fishermen at a relatively higher price and sold at market price at the wholesaler, export markets and to retailers. The profit is arrived at after deducting the cost of the trips and storage and the price of fish bought from the fishermen. Advantages of this system:

(i) It will reduce the transportation cost by not depending on private or commercial transport owners.
(ii) It will increase profit because the mark up profit that previously was taken by different middlemen at every stage of distribution will now be accumulated by the company alone.
(iii) A clear market price will be made known to the fishermen and they will be offered the exact market price if not a higher one. This can be done since the subsidiary company are able to operate in a low-cost manner.
(iv) The function of middlemen will be reduced since only the marketing company will be distributing the fish.
(v) Since the transfer of fish from one hand of middlemen to another middlemen will be eliminated, the quality of fishes will be less at risk.

For a quantitative example of how the subsidiary company may reduce cost and increase profit in the fish market please refer to the figures below:

According to this system, the middlemen cannot afford to pay fishermen better prices because they themselves are only able to make small profits individually. Under the present channel of distribution, there are many middlemen. Each will seek to acquire a mark-up profit for themselves.


Figure 3b

Recommended Channel of Distribution
Under the Proposed Marketing Subsidiary System

Costs incurred by the whole process shall include transportation costs, commissions or wages for the subsidiary’s workers, retailers, wholesalers and managers. If the fish is still sold at RM 10.00 per kilo, the revenue one box of fish will bring is RM 300.00. The profit of the company is the balance after deduction the price of fish bought from the fishermen, and the cost of the distributing process )as mentioned above). The calculation are as follows:

RM 300.00 – RM 80.00 -RM 100.00 = RM 120.00

So that will mean that the subsidiary company can offer a higher price for the fish and still attaining a profit margin while ensuring that the fish are less vulnerable to post-harvest losses. The company on the whole tries to overcome the basic problems of price instablility, unnecessary long distribution chains, unscrupulous middlemen, poor quality fish, a high rate of fish wastage and the most importanly is the racial imbalance in fisheries sectors.


The other main function of the corporation, which is in the area of social development. The programme is called the “Intergrated Community Development Programme” (ICDP).

The programme is felt to be of crucial importance as the success of the whole project depends on how the fishermen themselves perceive their standard of living and what is their level of consiousness. Through the process of conscientisation of the fisher folk only, can the project be sustained. This is hoped to be achieved through the process of adult education and further reinforced through small group discussions held for each members of hte Musharakah model.

The fisherman and their wives are encouraged to take up various projects deemed feasible towards generating side-income or just welfare-oriented projects for the benefit of the whole society. More elaborations on ICDP will be provided subsequently. Entrepreneurship activities 

Perhaps the role of women as income earners can best be enhanced through these projects. The menfolk who do not go to sea and remain idle at home can also join the projects. The income will help uplift the standard of living. Among areas of potential ventures are:
(i) Tradiional handicraft: batik, rattan furnitures, meng-kuang and pandan based industries. (ii) Fish by-product industry: keropok, salted products, crackers, chips, fillets. (iii) Sea-food centres at strategic locations (iv) Aquaculture (v) Fishermen market and night markets (vi) Woodcraft and carpentry. Vocational Training and Education programmes 

The programme seeks to improve the level of education among all walks of the society For the fishermen’s children, the projects suggested are,
1. Pre-school education
2. Tuition classes
3. Study group
4. Local village library
5. Extra curricular activities such as holiday camps educational visits and others.

With regard to other programmes, the author is of the opinion that the above figure (4) is self-explanatory. However, for the Integrated Community Development Programme to be effective, it must clos~ly monitored to ensure its success. The experiences in the developing countries have taught us many lessons, one of them are, the failure of many projects was due to management and poor monitoring and follow up. 1.4.8 PROPOSED FINANCING Musharakah Corporation Permodalan Nelayan Bumiputera Berhad {PNBB) is a proposed corporation to be established to tackle the task of uplifting the standard of living of the fishermen. PNBB is established as a separate legal entity which means that the liability of individual shareholders is limited to his investment or his share in the organization.

In PNBB, all parties involved are tied into a Musharakah based cooperation where they will directly or indirectly have to be actively involved in the activities of the business to guarantee its success. The distribution of the profit or losses will be based on the ratio of each party as stated in the contract. The partners in PNBB will consist of the (i) fishermen, (ii) retailers, (iii) wholesalers and (iv) the facilitators (management team .and workers) .

The proposed PNBB will actually finance the fishermen from two main sources. First, there is the launching grant from government bodies (such as Terengganu State Government, National Equity Company, Agricultural Bank of Malaysia and Bank Islam Malaysia Berhad) which will .be turned into revolving funds of the corporation. The PNBB will finance a fishermen by loaned out to the shareholders as advances for their capital contributions or shares of capital stock. The second source is the accumulated capital as repayments for the above loans are made. The research team considers the launching grant that is then turned into loans for the fishermen is necessary because initially the fishermen who mainly come from the lower income group may not be able to come up with the value of capital contribution they are encouraged to give as stated in the Musharakah agreement. PNBB uniquely st~nds on the concept of Musharakah financing which seems to be the most efficient and practical way in order to uplift the socio-economic condition of the fishermen. Therefore, PNBB will assist the fishermen in two ways. First, short term investment to cover living costs, wages and operating expenses for individual fishing trips while the second, PNBB will assist the fishermen with long-term investment in boats, nets and so on.

For the purpose of repayment the advance for buring shares in the PNBB, the fishermen’s dividends earned from being partners in the Musharakah Corporation would be partly used as repayments. By this way, in due course of time, repayment of the loan will be completed. The Directors of the company may also use a part of the corporation’s accumulated profits to invest in more assets in the hope of generating more profit. The total capital is used for buying fixed and current assets. However, the decision on the ratio of profit to be given as dividends or used for capital expenditure is up to the discretion of the Directors, according to the circumstances of the time. The start-up cost of the corporation may be high even if implemented at a small scale. The partners in the company will be allocated a fixed portion of shares respectively as suggested below:
After the fishermen has finally, repaid all the loans, the fund can be used for the corporation’s expansion purposes or for loans to the subsequent batches of fishermen who may wish to join the company but faces capital constraints. The process will be repeated again.

In the end the company will have back the amount equal to the launching grant and the accumulated capital contributions made by the fishermen who repaid their loans. Thus the corporation can further invest in bigger acticities that will give higher benefit to the fishermen.

The profit of the company comes from the excess revenue obtained from sale of the fish minus the operating cost including basic pay given to the workers and managers and the price of fish bought from the fishermen. The higher the productivity and reduction of post harvest losses. the higher the profit shall be Dividends from the profit shall be distributed to shareholders according to their contribution and other necessary considerations. At the expiry of the partnership. the portion 0[ capital owned by the fishermen is returned to the fishermen.


It was felt that to implement the concept at national level is far too awbitious. Thus, we are in agreement that the model has got to be tested at the micro level first, so that our resources are not wasted unnecessarily and better supervision of the project to identify the potential problems can be made. But firstly, a lot of consultation has to be done to derive the best strategies based on the experience in other projects such as those made by:
(a) Malaysian Entrepreneurial Development Centre (MEDEC)
(b) Pahang State Economic Planning Unit.
(c) Amanah Ikhtiar Malaysia.
(d) Lembaga Kemajuan Ikan Malaysia.

Perhaps a committee should be formed as advisors to the institution to help in the process of breaking through the social and political barriers existent in the target community T’io particular villages are suggested for the pilot project. namely
(a) Pengkalan Atap Village
(b) Mengabang Lekar Village

t is only wise to implement a small-scale version of the model first in these two villages. This micro version will need further refinements and modifications for its implementation. The success of the above model depends on the cooperation from all sides engaged in fisheries activities. The responsible associations should play their roles effectively and should not overlook the interest of any fishermen. Meanwhile, the fishermen should develop a positive attitude and co-operate with these associations in order to help themselves. In this context, trust among each other should come first because only then will success be achieved.


(1) Sum, W, Choo, “Bank Islam Malaysia: Performance Evaluation, 1983-1993” in Al-Harran, S., Leading Issues in Islamic Banking and Finance, Pelanduk Publications, P.95, Malaysia, 1995.

(2) Chapra, M. Umar, He expressed his views in a panel discussion on “Development Financing: Experience of Islamic Financial Conference on Islamic Economics, Kuala Lumpur, January 27-30, 1992.

(3) Al-Harran, Saad, “Time for Long-Term Islamic Financing” in Al-Harran S., Leading Issues in Islamic Banking and Finance, Pelanduk Publications, P.31, Malaysia, 1995.

(4) Kader, Radiah, “Bank Islam Malaysia: Market Implications” in Al-Harran, S., Leading Issues in Islamic Banking and Finance, Pelanduk Publications, P.128, Malaysia, 1995.

(5) Annual Reports Fisheries Statistics, fisheries Department, Ministry of Agriculture, Malaysia, Volume 1 and 2, Malaysia, 1995.

(6) Al-Harran and others
Islamic Marketing Strategy: Eradicating Rural Poverty in Malaysia, P.60, Pelanduk Publications, Malaysia, 1994.

Dr. Sa ad AI-Harran
Assistant Professor Faculty of Economics and Management
International Islamic University 

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