Improved disclosures seen in PLCs

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysian companies made consistent effort to improve their disclosures, as revealed in the research findings based on the Minority Shareholders Watchdog Group’s (MSWG) assessment of top 100 public listed companies (PLCs).

The results showed that the average corporate governance (CG) score rose to 84.99 points in 2016, from 80.41 points in 2015 and 68.20 points in 2012.

About 94% of the top PLCs had adequate environmental, social and governance disclosures in their annual reports and websites, albeit at varying degrees.

The findings for the top 100 PLCs also found that the number of women on boards have improved to 14.6% in 2016 compared to 13.4% in 2015. But despite the growth, the figures still fall short of the 30% female representation on corporate boards targeted by the government.

This year, nearly half (48%) of the top 100 PLCs published their AGM minutes on their website, compared to 37% in 2015 and a mere seven companies in 2013.

The findings also showed that 86% of the top PLCs have a whistle-blowing policy compared to 70% in 2015. Out of this, 91% have proper procedures for lodging complaints by employees and 84% have proper policy and procedures to protect an employee or person who reveals illegal or unethical behaviour from retaliation.

MSWG chairman Tan Sri Dr Sulaiman Mahbob said despite the more stringent assessment, the Transparency Index for the top 100 PLCs continued to be on an upward trend.

“As Malaysia moves into becoming a developed nation, we need a capital market that is truly transparent, where its players are recognised for their high integrity standards and the interests of the various participations are protected. This should ensure that Malaysia remains an attractive marketplace for foreign investments, as well as enabling long-term sustainability in delivering economic benefits to its people,” he said in a special address at the Malaysia-Asean Corporate Governance Transparency Index, Findings and Recognition 2016 here yesterday.

The Malaysia-Asean Corporate Governance Transparency Index, Findings and Recognition 2016 identified the top 100 Malaysian PLCs based on disclosures from the 868 companies that were assessed this year using the Asean CG Scorecard. The report on the full findings will be released in the first quarter of 2017.

The excellence awards for top CG and performance for overall category went to Bursa Malaysia Bhd, Telekom Malaysia Bhd, Axiata Group Bhd, LPI Capital Bhd and Malayan Banking Bhd.