KUALA LUMPUR – The top 100 Malaysian public-listed companies saw their performance in a recent transparency survey dragged down due to their lack of emphasis on anti-corruption policies.
The companies, which were studied in three areas – organisational transparency, anti-corruption programmes and sustainability – fared the worst in the area of anti-corruption.
The inaugural report on “Transparency in Corporate Reporting” by the Malaysian Institute of Corporate Governance (MICG) found that only two of the 100 companies studied had disclosed an anti-corruption training programme for both employees and directors, while only three companies disclosed regular monitoring of their anti-corruption programmes.
It also found that only 18% declared a prohibition of political contributions or a requirement that such contributions were publicly disclosed and 37% had a policy on gifts, hospitality and expenses.
MICG president Datuk Yusli Mohamed Yusof said it was worrying that the companies had performed worst in the area of anti-corruption programmes, among the three dimensions studied.
“The anti-corruption dimension had the lowest score among the three areas studied – 13 of the companies had a score of zero in this area,” he told a briefing here yesterday.
He added that the overall findings of the “Transparency in Corporate Reporting – Assessing Malaysia’s Top 100 Public Listed Companies” were that the disclosure practices and levels of transparency “fell short of expected standards”.
In the area of organisational transparency, he said there were unclear succession planning measures among most of the firms, while in terms of sustainability, it was found that there was a general disregard for human rights in business.
The three listed subsidiaries of national oil corporation Petroliam Nasional Bhd ( Petronas) topped the list of companies that disclosed the best transparency policies, followed by Sunway Construction Group Bhd and Malayan Banking Bhd.
MICG did not disclose the companies that fared the worst in the study.
The organisation had conducted the study based on publicly available information about each company’s policies, through annual reports, websites and other resources.
Meanwhile, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Paul Low, who was at the launch, said the Cabinet had approved the setting up of a steering committee under the Finance Ministry, to monitor and improve governance at state owned enterprises (SOEs).
He said governance at government-linked companies had improved following previous transformation initiatives, and the same needed to be done for SOEs.
“We will look at every SOE, and ways to incentivise companies to improve their governance practices,” he said.