Thursday, January 31, 2013

UiTM Academic Conference

Every year, Universiti Teknologi MARA (UiTM), through the office of the deputy vice chancellor (academic and internationalisation) organizes its academic conference.  Themed "Propelling Academic Excellence through World Class Practices", the 2013 Academic Conference invited four internationally renowned speakers to speak at the2-day conference held on 30 - 31 January 2013.  Dr Andreas Bender from the Unilever Centre for Molecular Science Informatics, University of Cambridge, United Kingdom spoke on a topic titled "Strategising to Strengthen Research Culture: Towards Developing World Class Higher Education.  Emeritus Professor Dr Shad Saleem Faruqi from Universiti Teknologi MARA delivered a topic on "Academic Integrity and Ethics".  Professor Dr Chesley John Skinner from the Department of Near Eastern Language & Civilization shares his personal international experiences of teaching and researching in  various institutions globally since he left Canada in the early 1970's.  Currently, Professor Skinner is a visiting professor at UiTM.  Apt with his own personal experiences, he spoke on a topic titled "Teaching at Home and Abroad: Some Observations from Along the Way".  Certainly interesting stuffs. The final speaker, Dr Mahender Singh from the Institute of Supply Chain  Innovation and MIT Global SCALE Network, Massachusetts Institute of Technology spoke on a topic related to "Global Networking: Sharing of Experiences".  In the afternoon, the Conference presented academic awards to deserving lecturers and researchers.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

MOHE Site Visit & Interviews

The Accounting Research Institute (ARI) thanks all auditors from the Ministry of Higher Education (MOHE) who have successfully conducted a site audit on ARI today.  The auditors comprised Prof Ahmad Fauzi Ismail, Associate Professor Dr Stefanie Shamil Pillai, Dr Abd Samad Hassan Basari, Dr Mohd Hafiz Dzarfan Othman, Dr Mukhlis A. Rahman and Ms Nuzulha Khilwani Ibrahim.  Basically, the main aim of the visit was to interview ARI members and to obtain first-hand quantitative and qualitative information related to the "Impact" of the HICoE initiative to various stakeholders.  ARI also thanks all research fellows, senior fellow, visiting research scientist, postdoc, post graduate students, administrative staff and research assistants for your participation in the interviews.  In driving research and innovation agenda in the niche area "Islamic Financial Criminology", the Accounting Research Institute is currently focusing on six research clusters namely (1) Islamic Micro Finance, (2) Shariah-based Capital Market, (3) Zakat & Waqaf - in collaboration with IKAZ, (4) Anti-Money Laundering & Counter Financing of Terrorism (AML-CFT), (5) Governance of Non Profit Organisations and (6) Financial Fraud Risk Indicators.  As part of its internationalization agenda, ARI will dedicate years 2013 & 2014 to strengthen its international collaborations with renowned research centres globally.  ARI will also appoint more senior research fellows from among industry players who are experts in the areas of Islamic Finance and Financial Criminology.

Vice Chancellor New Year Message

The university vice chancellor, Dato' Sri Prof Ir Dr Sahol Hamid Abu Bakar in his new year message given today emphasized on some crucial agendas to be considered and implemented by the university in 2013.  Among the 33 items being listed, there are several agendas that will need special attention by a centre of excellence such as the Accounting Research Institute (ARI).  First, is on the need for researchers to implement "Blended Learning" as a priority teaching technique.  Here, enhanced use of ICT will facilitate teaching and learning will hopefully produce better outcome.  Second, is the need for every researcher and academic staff of the university to contribute to MyRA score.  With regards this agenda, every ARI researcher is expected to publish more than six (6) indexed journal articles per year.  At the same time time, every research project will enroll (and ultimately produce) at least 1 PhD or 2 Master by research students.  Third, is  for every responsibility centre to focus on its internationalisation strategy.  This could be effectively done through the inbound & outbound appointments of staff as visiting professors.  Researchers are also encouraged to co-author journal articles with renowned professors in their respective fields. Fourth, is for each professor to generate at least RM10,000/year for the university.  This could be in the forms of research grants or consultancy services.  Fifth, is the necessity for each responsibility centre such as ARI to generate at least 30% of its own income through profits generated from conferences, professional training programs, contract research and consultancy services.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Minister's New Year Message

In his recent new year message, the Minister of Higher Education (MOHE), Datuk Seri Mohamed Khaled Nordin outlined eight MOHE agendas: (1) Reviewing of the MOHE National  Strategic Plan (PSPTN); (2) Introducing MOHE Outreach Program; (3) Generating Innovation-based Economy; (4) Enhancing the quality of higher education; (5) Strengthening the marketability of graduates; (6)  Mapping of MOHE's internationalisation agenda; (7)  Education Inclusion for all and (8)  Inculcating innovative work culture.  Several.  In ensuring high quality of higher education, the Ministry has placed a moratorium on the setting up of new private institutes of higher learning (IPTS).  MOHE research agenda is further strengthened by the introduction of the online research grant management system known as "MyGrants".  The online portal would certainly facilitate research collaboration among researchers from different institutions of higher learning...

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Social Enterpreneurship

The concept of "Social Enterpreunership" was recently discussed by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Local Economic and Employment Development Programme (LEED).  In an undated paper titled The Social Enterprise Sector: A Conceptual Framework, social enterprises can be defined as "organisations with an explicit aim to benefit the community, initiated by a group of citizens and in which the material interest of capital investors is subject to limits.  They place a high value on their independence and on economic risk-taking related to on-going socio-economic activity".  From a cross-country perspective, it is possible to identify a set of key economic and social elements that help define social enterprises across national differences:  First, Unlike traditional non-profit organisations, social enterprises are directly engaged in the production and/or sale of goods and services  (rather than predominantly advisory or grant-giving functions),  Second, social enterprises are voluntarily created and managed by groups of citizens. As a result, while they may receive grants and donations from public authorities or private companies, social enterprises enjoy a high degree of autonomy and shareholders have the right to       participate (‘voice’) and to leave the organisation (‘exit’).  Third, the financial viability of social enterprises depends on the efforts of their members, who are responsible for ensuring adequate financial resources, unlike most public institutions. Social enterprises therefore involve a significant level of economic risk; Fourth, activities carried out by social enterprises require a minimum number of paid workers, even if they may  combine voluntary and paid workers. Fifth, social enterprises are the result of an initiative by citizens involving people belonging to a community or to a group that shares a certain need or aim. They must maintain this dimension in one form or another.  Sixth, decision making rights are shared by stakeholders, generally through the principle of ‘one member, one vote’. Although capital owners in social enterprises play an important role, decision-making power is not based on capital ownership.  Seventh, social enterprises are participatory in nature, insofar as those affected by the activities (the users of social enterprises’ services) are represented and participate in the management of activities. In many cases one of the objectives is to strengthen democracy at local level through economic activity.  Eight, social enterprises include organisations that totally prohibit the distribution of profits and organisations such as co-operatives, which may distribute their profit only to a limited degree. Social enterprises therefore avoid profit maximising behaviour, as they involve a limited distribution of profit. Ninth, social enterprises pursue an explicit aim to benefit the community or a specific group of people. By doing so, they directly and indirectly promote a sense of social responsibility at local level.  

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Groom Big Seminar

The Groom Big Programme is an initiative by the Ministry of International Trade (MITI) to encourage, nurture and develop SME entrepreneurs to have a bold vision towards becoming a big entity, have the ability to compete and willing to progress while having the staying power at the domestic and global level. Its aim is to make SMEs think big so that they can be groomed into large entities.  In implementing the Groom Big program, MITI partners with various agencies.  One of the agencies, Malaysian Productivity Corporation (MPC) has invited the Accounting Research Institute (ARI) to develop a training module on Financial Management for participants.  Today, a one-day Groom Big seminar was held by MPC.  During the seminar, ARI has been invited to present its findings on financial management practices of eight Groom Big companies - Ruff n Tuff, Brimal Stampress, PATCO, Innopeak, Mitti Cables, Matrix Power, Shamawar and PSB Decoration.  In addition to ARI presentation, all participating companies have also been asked to present at least one TQM or productivity initiatives. 

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Money Laundering Case Presentations

The Accounting Research Institute (ARI) congratulates all students who have successfully attended the recent Financial Criminology and Money Laundering course at the Faculty of Accountancy, Universiti Teknologi MARA.  At the end of the five-week session, students presented their local case studies, submitted related written briefs of the cases and sat for an examination.  A total of fifteen local cases were presented.  What they did was to identify old and new cases.  Some perpetrators have been successfully charged while some cases have been "dropped" due to lack of substantial evidences.  The students have to "re-construct" the cases by identifying suitable fraud detection tools, propose relevant documents to look for, examine internal control mechanism of the case, carry out detail analysis of the evidences, identify relevant legislation under the Anti Money Laundering and Anti Terrorism Financing Act 2001 and carry out a complete investigation.  Students were encouraged to interview regulators, enforcement agencies, "witnesses" to get relevant facts of the cases. To facilitate them with the course, two guest speakers have been invited to the class.  The first speaker was an investigation officer from the Royal Malaysian Police (RMP), who has loads of experience investigating money laundering and other financial fraud cases.  The second speaker was an anti-money laundering specialist who has conducted a lot of special money laundering investigations for private companies in the country. Well done all....

Friday, January 18, 2013

NPO Outreach Programs

The Accounting Research Institute (ARI) and the Registrar of Societies (ROS) have recently organized a one-day joint workshop event at Universiti Teknologi MARA to document ROS's outreach programs for the last three years.  Since the number of non-profit organisations (NPOs) registered with ROS is huge, it is almost impossible for ROS officers to visit and interact with every single organisation.  For effective management, various outreach programs have been introduced by ROS to "reach" out to its members:  Open Day, Seminars,  workshops (on leadership, financial reporting, governance), expositions, Exhibitions etc.  Of late, ROS has also been specific in introducing the concepts of "Governance" and "Accountability" in its outreach programs.  Recent global cases where perpetrators abused NPO organizations and used them as conduits for money laundering and terrorism financing have put non profit organisations into serious "vigilant mode".  As such, seminars and workshop series explaining the concepts of money laundering and terrorism financing have been introduced to the NPO fraternity. In view of this recent development, ROS in collaboration with ARI are coming up with formal documentations and write ups so that they can be used by members as reference materials.  The one-day workshop will produce relevant proceedings for years 2010, 2011 and 2012.  The proceedings are basically based on all the outreach programs carried out by ROS during the said years.  Participants are mainly ROS representatives from 14 Malaysian states (including the Federal Territory) and ARI researchers.  

Monday, January 14, 2013

Research on Islamic Philanthropy

The Accounting Research Institute (ARI) was recently tasked to facilitate a research discussion on Islamic Philanthropy   At the end of the three-day discussion, a research proposal was developed and submitted.  The project had involved several local and foreign universities.  Philanthropy, or in a more general term, charity constitutes an act of giving and sharing of one's wealth with others. From the Islamic perspective, a society can flourish when its members do not spend all their wealth on the satisfaction of their own desires but reserve a portion of it for others - parents, relatives, neighbours, the poor and the incapacitated.  Islamic philanthropy is of two categories: obligatory and voluntary.  Obligatory philanthropy consists of zakat; whereas voluntary philanthropy includes the institutions of sadaqah and waqaf.   Zakat is the share or portion of wealth that is obligatory upon a Muslim to give to fixed categories of beneficiaries (Asnaf), if the valu of his/her assets is more than a specified limit.  Sadaqah is a form of giving but is not restricted in the form of money or food, but includes every act done for the benefit of others.  Waqaf is the permanent dedication of any property or wealth for any purpose recognised by the religion and it involves the transfer of ownership of the things dedicated.   In a nutshell, Islamic philanthropy aims to develop value creation to the well being of the ummah. 

Friday, January 11, 2013

ARI-IIM Projects for 2013

The Accounting Research Institute (ARI) thanks the Malaysian Institute of Integrity (IIM) for considering ARI in its 2013 projects.  In view of the increasing  request by corporations to participate in IIM's Corporate Integrity Pledge (CIP) program, IIM will be starting its outreach initiative in February 2013.  CIP signatories are usually offered to participate in IIM training modules as well as to take part in the self-assessment  Corporate Integrity Assessment Questionnaire (CIAQ).  ARI in particular will facilitate IIM in administering the CIAQ, preparing the data analysis and writing the report for respective participants.  There are also CIP participants who wish to showcase their integrity initiatives, which IIM plans to publish as case study books.  ARI is certainly honored to participate in the case study book writing.  In today's meeting at ARI,  two IIM officers from the Private Sector Division and ARI researchers discussed the 2013 forthcoming programs...

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Conferral of Honorary Degree

Universiti Teknologi MARA (UiTM) will be hosting a special event on 15th January 2013.  The event which will be held at the Shah Alam Convention Centre (SACC), will witness the  conferring of an Honorary Degree by the University of Ohio, USA to the Prime Minister of Malaysia, Dato' Seri Najib Razak.  In promoting the auspicious event, two UiTM professors have been invited this morning by Radio Television Malaysia (RTM) to go on air in its "Hello 2" segment of RTM 2.  Prof Datin Dr Suzana Sulaiman, who is a research associate at the Accounting Research Institute (ARI), is also the Assistant Vice Chancellor (iLQAM), entrusted to organise the half day event.  Prof Dr Habibah is currently holding the Razak Chair  professor at Ohio University in Athens, USA. (Note:  Prof Datin Suzana is in green dress).

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Workshop on “Structural Equation Modeling (SEM)

A two day workshop on “Structural Equation Modeling (SEM)” was held from 8 to 9 January 2013 at the Computer Lab 1. The Accounting Research Institute had invited Dr. Adewale Abideen Adeyemi from the International Islamic University Malaysia to run this workshop. The main objective of the workshop is to introduce participants to” basic to intermediate level” appreciation of Structural Equation Modelling (SEM), based on real data. Specifically, the workshop is meant to enhance participants’ hands-on capability to use the IBM SPSS AMOS 20 software to carry out multi variate data analysis.
The topics covered in this workshop include, but are not limited to Exploratory Factor Analysis, 1st Order Confirmatory Factor Analysis, 2nd Order Confirmatory Factor Analysis, Construct Reliability, Convergent and Divergent Validity, Metric and Configural Invariance Analysis, Common Method Bias, Full-fledged Structural Model, Multi-group Structural Analysis, Data Imputation, Testing Mediated Effect (Partial and Full Effects) and Nested Models.
The event was well received by the attendees, as shown by their enthusiasm during the Q&A session as well as their zealous discussion on the topic.

Monday, January 7, 2013

ARI-CCM Collaborative Works on NPO Research

According to the 2011 "Typologies Report: NPO Sector Vulnerabilities" published by Asia Pacific Group (APG), the role of Non Profit Organisations (NPOs) in the world's international system grew considerably in the 21st century.  NPOs have become prominent actors in the global aid architechture and strongly influence domestic government policy as well as international standards, many of which pertain to human rights, health, education and other critical social needs.  Malaysia's NPO sector is composed of organisations that generally take the form of either a charitable corporation or a society.  A charitable corporation, identified as a company limited by guarantee, must reguister with the Companies Commission of Malaysia (CCM) and is held accountable by the Companies Act 1965.  As such, CCM is responsible for registering, supervising and controlling the activities of these charitable corporations.  Societies are registered, monitored and controlled by the Registry of Societies Malaysia (ROS), within the Ministry of Home Affairs and are held accountable by the Societies Act 1966.   As part of their ongoing collaboration, the Accounting Research Institute (ARI) and CCM finalised their proposed collaborative activities  for 2013 in a meeting held at CCM office in Kuala Lumpur recently.   In view of the forthcoming APG's Mutual Evaluation Assessment in 2013, ARI-CCM collaboration will include joint seminars, research and publications.

Friday, January 4, 2013

ARI-Paris Research Collaboration

As part of its internationalisation initiative, the Accounting Research Institute (ARI) sent two researchers, Prof Dr. Rashidah Abdul Rahman and Associate Prof Dr. Nawal Kasim to meet up with  Dr. Arvind Ashta and Dr. Djamchid Assadi of the Banque Populaire Chair in Microfinance of the Burgundy School of Business in Paris.  Currently Prof Rashidah is heading ARI's research cluster in Islamic Microfinance and Dr Nawal is heading another cluster on Shariah Governance.  The researchers brainstormed on many possibilities for joint research and cross-cultural comparative studies on Islamic microfinance including Financial Diaries, Credit & Poverty Scoring and Social Collateral &Trust.  2013 will see ARI strengthening its international collaborations with universities in Europe and Australasia.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Happy New Year

The Accounting Research Institute (ARI) wishes everyone and in particular, its members a happy new year.  May 2013 marks a new beginning to some of you.  For ARI, 2012 has been a great year indeed.  As a Higher Instituion's Centre of Excellence (HICoE), ARI has been mandated to evolve from an institution-based expertise to an international-based reference centre.  The biggest "paradigm shift" that ARI members have embraced is to change from being a generalist to a specialist.  Prior to the HICoE stature, ARI was promoting a very diverse discipline, ranging from financial reporting, public sector accounting, accounting information system to auditing and forensic accounting.  The HICoE program "forces" the researchers to be more strategic in their actions.  Premised on a specific research niche in Islamic Financial Criminology, ARI researchers are now focusing on two main research thrusts: Islamic Finance and Financial Criminology.  With the aim of strengthening the Islamic Finance Industry for Malaysia, ARI research projects propose new Islamic Finance products and at the same time develop financial fraud preventive mechanism for the industry.  Hence, 2012 saw research projects in six main clusters namely (1) Islamic Micro Finance; (2) Zakat & Waqaf; (3) Shariah Governance; (4) Financial Governance of NPOs; (5) Anti-Money Laundering & Counter Financing of Terrorism and (6) Development of Fraud Risk Indicators.  Seven conferences were either organized or co-organized by ARI and its strategic partners: (1) International Conference on Governance & Accountability (ICGA); (2) International Conference on Management Innovation & Technology (ICMIT); (3) International Conference on Corporate Governance (ICCG); (4) Asia-Pacific Management Accounting Association Conference (APMAAC); (5) International Conference on Financial Crime and Terrorism Financing (IFCTF); (6) International Public Sector Conference (IPSC) and (7) International Islamic Accounting & Finance Conference (IIAFC).  More than 100 papers in Islamic Financial Criminology were also published.  ARI's new 2012 strategic partners have included Registrar of Societies (ROS); Companies Commission of Malaysia (CCM); Asia Institute of Finance (AIF); Malaysian Productivity Corporation (MPC); TESS; University of New Orleans; Rangsit University; Xiamen University; University of Tasmania; University of Canberra; Universitas Islam Indonesia; Universitas Gadjah Mada; University of Wales; University of Jordan and many others.  May 2013 be brighter for us.....