Friday, 3 November 2023
For the third and final instalment of our ESG forum series, we focused on addressing corruption through strengthening good governance within the workplace with speakers from MACC, UNDP, World Bank and many more.
The Chinese Chamber of Commerce & Industry of Kuala Lumpur & Selangor (KLSCCCI) and the Swedish Embassy hosted their third ESG forum, focussing on governance. The event was held at the Asian International Arbitration Centre, with the venue costs sponsored by Credit Bureau Malaysia.
We were fortunate to have Asfaazam Kasbani, Director of Pusat SDG Negara (National SDG Centre), deliver the keynote on having good governance as a cornerstone for sustainable development. He emphasised that it is essential for companies to be transparent in their reporting and how this aligns with government policy as well.
We wanted to share two different perspectives regarding the topic: the micro-level of how to instil integrity within the company itself, and the macro-level of the cost and impact of corruption. Hence, we had two panel sessions with the following panellists:
Panel Discussion I – Inculcating Business Integrity as Corporate Culture
Khalid Shaikh, General Manager, Atlas Copco Malaysia & Singapore
Dato’ Sim Choo Kheng, Founder, Sim Leisure Group
Sujatha Sekhar Naik, Chairman, Malaysian Institute of Corporate Governance (MICG)
Moderated by Cheong Wai Quan (Associate Director, Wealth Advisory & Services of iFast Capital Sdn Bhd)
Panel Discussion II – Towards Corruption-free Sustainable Development
Manon Bernier, Deputy Resident Representative to Malaysia, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)
Dr. Yasuhiko Matsuda, World Bank Representative to Malaysia
Dato’ Hafaz Nazar, Director of Policy, Planning & Research, Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC)
Pushpan Murugiah, CEO, Center to Combat Corruption & Cronyism (C4 Center)
Moderated by Kiu Jia Yaw
Out of both sessions, some key points were emphasised:
Leadership is essential in inculcating integrity. There needs to be a full commitment to this from the top which would allow effective implementation at all levels of staff. Integrity can also be institutionalised through strong alignment to the purpose and process of the work.
Transparency is the most important element to combat corruption. This needs to be practised in the form of disclosures. The independence and freedom of journalism and the press are crucial.
Corruption is highly costly to the economy. It increases the price of goods, delays projects for citizens, as well as exacerbates income inequality. Corruption also undermines human development opportunities and the attainment of peace.
All players need to contribute to addressing corruption – the private sector, the government, and CSOs/NGOs. There is no silver bullet. Instead, everyone needs to reinforce a culture that rejects any form of corruption in their own spheres of influence.
The event concluded with a lunch networking session sponsored by the Swedish Embassy.
Reflecting on our collaboration with KLSCCCI and the Swedish Embassy, we are glad to have played a humble role in curating topics, convening partners and holding space for important ESG conversations. It is especially important to have different business actors contribute together for sustainable development, whether they are multinational companies or MSMEs. It is clear that ESG is a journey to be taken together, as we learn from each other and broaden our perspectives. There are important best practices to pick up and difficulties to overcome through peer support and building trust with each other. We hope that there would be more opportunities for such open and edifying engagements, as we push for businesses to internalise ESG and take better ownership of their place in society.
A bit of context
We mentioned earlier that this forum was the third and final instalment of our ESG forum series, in a collaboration between the KLSCCCI and Swedish Embassy. You can find out more about the first two forums in the links below. The first (on Environment) was a forum on sustainability in automotive supply chains. The second (on Social) was a forum on gender diversity at the workplace.