Malaysia’s securities regulator has put environmental, social and governance, and greater representation of women on company boards, at the top of its corporate governance priorities through the next two years.
Securities Commission Malaysia outlined 11 targeted initiatives, including onboarding programmes for directors on sustainability, and investor education campaigns on corporate governance and sustainability.
“ESG readiness is no longer a matter of choice for companies, as stakeholders have come to expect more responsible, sustainable and climate-conscious behaviour,” SC Chairman Syed Zaid Albar says. “This expectation is going to increase over time and thus, boards need to be ESG-ready,”
He was speaking at the launch of the SC’s Corporate Governance Strategic Priorities 2021-2023 on November 24.
He says the SC will also implement measures to improve board diversity, including accelerating participation of women on company boards and senior management, noting that only 162 listed companies have at least 30% of women on their boards.
That is just 15% of the 1,082 companies currently listed on the Malaysian stock exchange.
“Listed companies are reminded that while it will be mandatory for boards to comprise at least one woman director, boards should put in efforts to achieve the target of having 30% women directors in order to further harness the benefits of having a diverse board,” Syed Zaid says.