Drive to improve governance must be tackled at public, private sectors: Low

KUALA LUMPUR: The national drive to improve governance and reduce corruption must be tackled at both the public and private sectors, said Minister in the Prime Minister Department Datuk Paul Low Seng Kuan.

He said good corporate governance and sustainable development had become key concerns for investors as values could be destroyed by non-compliance with acceptable standards.

"While the government is currently putting in preventive measures and bringing change, the private sector, especially listed companies, should do likewise.

"Corporate governance can only be achieved if the leadership in the corporations are setting the tone and showing commitment to support good practices," he told reporters after launching the Malaysian Institute of Corporate Governance (MICG) report here today.

The inaugural report, "Transparency in Corporate Reporting-Assessing Malaysia's Top 100 Public Listed Companies" was conducted between January and April this year.

Meanwhile, MICG President, Datuk Yusli Mohamed Yusof, said the overall findings of the report were that the disclosure practices and levels of transparency fell short of expected standards.

He said the companies were ranked in three areas – organisational transparency, anti-corruption programmes and sustainability practices.

"It is worrying that the companies had performed worst in the area of anti-corruption programmes, with only two of the 100 companies disclosing an anti-corruption training programme for its employees and directors.

"In the area of organisational transparency, there were unclear succession planning measures, while in terms of sustainability, it was found that there was a general disregard for human rights in business," he added.

Based on the report, three listed subsidiaries of national oil corporation, Petroliam Nasional Bhd (Petronas), topped the list of a report on transparency in corporate reporting.

The corporations are Petronas Gas Bhd, Petronas Dagangan Bhd and Petronas Chemical Bhd. — Bernama