CCM to enforce guideline for reporting beneficial ownership next year

KUALA LUMPUR: The Companies Commission of Malaysia (CCM) will enforce the guidelines for reporting framework for beneficial ownership by March next year, according to its director of regulatory development and services division Norhaiza Jemon.

She said the draft guidelines released for public consultation on Nov 8 were aimed at providing guidance to companies, limited liability partnership and businesses on the requirements regarding beneficial owners.

“After it comes into force next year, companies have six months to update the information required by CCM; in the event of failure to comply, legal action may be taken against them but now we take the approach of providing them with guidelines,” she told reporters after appearing as a panellist at the ‘Unmasking The Corrupt Through Beneficial Ownership Transparency forum’ here today.

The forum, organised by Transparency International Malaysia (TI-M), was also attended by Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) chief commissioner Latheefa Koya and TI-M president Dr Mohammad Mohan.

Norhaiza said any company that failed to provide the beneficial owner’s information in the Annual Statement could be subjected to legal action under Section 68 of the Companies Act 2016 with a maximum fine of RM50,000.

Meanwhile, Latheefa, in her closing remarks, said the framework would enhance the provision and get the company to obtain, report, verify and update Beneficial Ownership (BO) information in a timely manner.

“It will be the duty of the company secretary to ensure that BO information is lodged, accurate and up to date. As this is an initiative that will get the ball rolling towards greater transparency, it is often best to use a multi-pronged approach in resolving such matters,” she said.

She added that it was also good to note that BO information would not only prove vital to the authorities and law enforcement agencies but could also be used in due diligence exercises performed in the corporate sector.

MACC deputy director of Anti-Money Laundering & Forfeiture of Properties (AMLFOP) Division Mohamad Faizal Sadri said they faced a few challenges during investigations related to BO.

“Among them was when financial trail came to a dead end when transactions were switched to cash,” he added. - Bernama