Zeti expresses worry over integrity deficit in individual, organisation

KUALA LUMPUR: There is a need to strengthen the ethical and integrity standards in both individual and organisation in the environment which economic conditions have become uncertain for an extended period of time, former Bank Negara Malaysia Governor Tan Sri Dr Zeti Akhtar Aziz said.

She said this global development has led to a lack of faith and belief in the system and governments in dealing with these issues and delivering results.

Zeti, who is also Co-Chair Board of Governors in Asia School of Business, said among underlying factors that had contributed to the growing distrust were the breakdown in ethical values, the lack of personal and organisational accountability, and weak governance and internal controls.

"Trust is particularly important when being confronted with a critical moment, when you are most vulnerable. Building trust is however a long-haul endeavour.

"Conscious and continuous efforts are therefore needed to build this trust. It needs to be there when you most need it," she said during her keynote speech at the PwC Malaysia's second Building Trust Awards here tonight.

Zeti said compliance to rules needed to be reinforced by a strong culture of ethical values and required changes to incentives and the professional codes, while having a clear mapping of the boundaries of the responsibilities and accountabilities to provide ground for advancing a strong organisational culture.

She said a sharp increase in corporate wrongdoings globally and the numerous series of scandals that had swept through the world had significantly damaged trusts and confidence.

"This has largely manifested itself in the form of widespread abuse in the system that increased questionable and imprudent practices, recurrent misconduct and breaches of professional ethics, corruption, and incompetence.

"Businesses and the financial industry are now confronted with immense challenge of rebuilding of such trust," she said.

Zeti noted that there was also a great reliance on the media to perform their reporting obligations following growing distrust of the media at a time when there was a need to know and be aware what was actually happening.

At the event, Sime Darby Bhd was adjudged the winner of the 2017 award for its efforts in building trust with its stakeholders while Axiata Group Bhd was runner-up. — Bernama