Malaysia's listed firms progressively adopt corporate governance, sustainability best practices

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysian public listed companies (PLCs) continue to take proactive steps to address sustainability risks and opportunities.

According to the Securities Commission's Corporate Governance Monitor (CG Monitor) 2022 report, PLCs were progressively adopting the corporate governance best practices.

The report said this included the new best practices introduced in the 2021 revision of the Malaysian Code on Corporate Governance (MCCG), particularly those relating to sustainability.

"This includes ensuring that the board and senior management undergo regular training to stay abreast of sustainability issues relevant to the company, with 58 per cent of the PLCs having either a dedicated committee or a role in senior management in charge of the strategic management of sustainability for the company," it said.

The SC said PLCs were setting and committing to emissions reduction targets including achieving carbon-neutrality by 2030 and net zero by 2050.

This is based on the SC's review of 50 PLCs that comprise, among others, large firms operating in the energy, plantation, transportation and logistics sectors.

"More than half of the PLCs are also disclosing emissions related data even before the Bursa Malaysia Listing Requirements made the disclosure of such information mandatory.

"All PLCs are required to disclose emissions related data in annual reports for the financial year ending December 31, 2024 and onwards," it said.

The CG Monitor also reported that 34 per cent of individuals appointed to boards of PLCs in 2022 were women, compared with 23 per cent in 2021.

While overall adoption of the MCCG was encouraging and there were improvements in the quality of disclosures for some of the best practices, SC said there were areas that could have been improved.

"In particular, the adoption of practices related to disclosure of senior management remuneration remained disappointingly low, with slight improvement in 2022.

"Only 22 per cent from 21 per cent in 2021 of PLCs disclosed senior management remuneration in bands of RM50,000 or by the exact amount," it said.

SC chairman Datuk Seri Dr Awang Adek Hussin said PLCs continued to strengthen their CG best practices despite the challenging environment.

Awang said good governance remained the bedrock of business and was key to maintaining transparency and accountability.

"This ultimately fosters sustainability and helps companies realise long-term benefits including reducing risks, seizing growth opportunities, increasing shareholder value and meeting evolving stakeholders' expectations," he added.

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