Thursday, December 31, 2015

Oversight Panels of MACC

The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) is a government agency in Malaysia that investigates and prosecutes corruption in the public and private sectors. The agency was originally modeled after top anti-corruption agencies, such as the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) of Hong Kong and New South Wales, Australia.  Since its establishment in 2009, the MACC has been steadily discharging its duties and responsibilities as the primary agency tasked with weeding out corruption in Malaysia. In order to ensure MACC’s independence, transparency and professionalism, five separate and independent oversight bodies were formed to monitor the functions of the MACC an act as a check-and-balance. Members of these panels represent the general public and include senior former government officials, politicians (both from the government and the opposition), professionals, academicians, lawyers and individuals of high standing in society.
There are currently five independent bodies that monitor the MACC to ensure its integrity and to protect citizens’ rights. The five bodies are namely: the Anti-Corruption Advisory Board, the Special Committee on Corruption, the Complaints Committee, the Operations Review Panel, and the Corruption Consultation and Prevention Panel.  The existence of these independent oversight committees is a reflection of the MACC’s impartiality and independence, compared with the ACA. The Accounting Research Institute (ARI) is greatly honoured that two of its research fellows/ associates are in these independent oversight bodies.  Professor Dr Normah Omar is member of the Operation Review Panel and Professor Dr Syed Noh Syed Ahmad is member of Corruption Consultation Panel. 

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Role of Universities in the Fight Against Corruption

This is an interesting excerpt from University World News titled A ‘whole-of-university’ approach: Role of Universities to fight corruption

It is important to highlight that, at university level, curricula typically lack components that would contribute to a non-tolerance of such conduct.  There are good reasons for higher education to take on these challenges.

  • First, on a global level, corruption is considered one of the major obstacles for meaningful democracy, economic wealth and human well-being.
  • Second, apart from direct costs, both petty and grand corruption erodes social trust and contributes to reinforcing dysfunctional norms in a society. As social trust is needed in most undertakings of collective action, this can in turn undermine the ability of states to collect taxes.
  • Third, societies governed by corrupt systems and unethical norms provide a breeding ground for economic crisis. Whatever the underlying causes of economic and financial crisis, many governments react by introducing austerity measures.

The combination of crisis and austerity is likely to amplify unemployment, poverty and inequality, which in turn – directly or indirectly – may lead to increased morbidity, mortality and human suffering.  Adding to that, austerity measures often strike particularly hard against those unconnected with the causes of the crisis, which may further lead to an erosion of both trust and legitimacy in our democratic institutions.

From the numerous interactions from which we infer our trust in others, it is clear that reaching out only to students of law and public policy will fail to have the desired effects. To name but a few: your banker is likely to be an economist; engineers are often central in public procurement; doctors, nurses and administrators alike are all points of contact in the health sector.

Thus, for universities to optimise their roles as drivers of change towards social capital, health and well-being, a ‘whole-of-university’ promotion is needed.  Recognising the university sector’s potential, as well as its responsibility to help shape the moral contours of society for the better, we ask institutions of higher education to:

    Endorse a cross-faculty approach to include components of ethics and anti-corruption in curricula.
  • Teach teachers to encourage and facilitate the incorporation of ethics issues within their classes.
  • Appreciate the opportunity to shape professional identities, which set the boundaries of future acceptable behaviour.
  • 'Talk the talk' and 'walk the walk' – that is, in addition to educating on ethical behaviour it is crucial that universities – as agents providing a public good – themselves act accordingly, ensuring impartiality in teaching, student assessment and research and that matters regarding awards of degrees, employment and promotions are based on transparent and objective criteria.
Through this initiative, higher education can play its part in the global fight against corruption.

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Research Projects for 2016

On the second day of the Retreat, researchers presented their research proposals.  For each proposal, the outcome must include producing at least 2 Masters or 1 PhD students, four indexed publications, one of which must be in Q1/Q2, 1 innovative product with intellectual property, 1 international networking with research program and sourcing of grants of at least RM100,000.  The Islamic-based  Business Model  in Enhancing Good Governance and Wealth Creation research cluster presented five research projects on Islamic microfinance, iBiz Waqaf, social enterprise economics, Islamic philanthropy and shariah audit.  The Corporate Integrity, Ethics and Risk Management research cluster proposes four projects on anti-corruption in public sector, Public sector governance, corporate integrity system and risk management & governance.  The Anti-Money Laundering and Anti-Fraud Mechanisms to Mitigate Financial Leakages research cluster  showcases four projects: FATF standards Implementation by designated non-financial businesses and professions (DNFBP), AML/CFT in financial institutions, Predicting Fraudulent and Non-Fraudulent Companies Using Multilayer Perceptron of ANN and Money Laundering typologies involving cases on indirect tax evasion and 
smuggling.  Meanwhile, the Methodologies in Financial Fraud Detection and Prevention research cluster showcases five projects, all involving the use of ICT and other computerized technologies to detect and predict the occurrences of financial fraud.  One research project led by Professor Dr Takiah specifically examines the behavioural aspects of fraud and fraudsters. 

Saturday, December 19, 2015

ARI Research Retreat

Members of the Accounting Research Institute (ARI) participated in a recent research retreat in Seremban Negeri Sembilan 0n 18-20 December 2015.  Premised on the research theme Islamic Financial Criminology, ARI develops four research clusters namely (i) Islamic-based  Business Model  in Enhancing Good Governance and Wealth Creation, (ii) Corporate Integrity, Ethics and Risk Management, (iii) Anti-Money Laundering and Anti-Fraud Mechanisms to Mitigate Financial Leakages and (iv) Methodologies in Financial Fraud Detection and Prevention.  Within each research cluster, there are between 3-4 research projects.  ARI research niche Islamic Financial Criminology is aimed to support Malaysia's aspiration to become an Islamic Finance Hub by 2020.  ARI believes that a sustainable Islamic Finance Industry is built on three very important thrusts: Firstly the need to introduce new Islamic finance products which are beyond Islamic Banking.  ARI is focusing on i-Waqaf, Islamic microfinance, Social Enterprise Economics and Islamic Philanthropy.  Secondly, the need to place proper governance mechanism to the industry.  As such, ARI gives a lot of focus on research related to corporate integrity, shariah audit, risk management and anti-corruption mechanisms.  Thirdly to develop methodologies to mitigate financial leakages.  Methodologies such as the use of Big Data, Data Analytic, Artificial Neural Network (ANN) and Data Mining will be explored as possible research topics.


Tuesday, December 15, 2015

International Conference on Islamic Economics, Governance and Social Enterprise - Day 2

Day 2

Day 2 of IConIGS 2015 started with more participants presenting in parallel sessions.  After the morning break, Professor Rafiqul Islam Molla, Advisor to the Islamic International University Chittagong, Bangladesh presented a special paper on Social Enterprise Economics.  the voluntary sector or community sector (also non-profit sector or "not-for-profit" sector) is the duty of social activity undertaken by organizations that are not for-profit and non-governmental. This sector is also called the third sector in contrast to the public sector and the private sector. Civic sector or social sector are other terms for the sector, emphasizing its relationship to civil society.  Following Professor Molla's special address, there was a plenary session.  Moderated by Prof Dato' Dr Mustafa Mohamed Hanefah, the session was facilitated by two plenary speakers, namely Mr Md Khairuddin Hj Arshad, Chief Operating Officer of Bank Rakyat, Malaysia and Mr Zainal Abidin, Director of Social Enterprise Dompet Dhuafa, Indonesia.  Whilst Mr Khairuddin discusses the role of the financial sector in enhancing the  development of social enterprise; Mr Zainal Abidin shares his personal experiences in the setting up of social enterprise economics.  Later in the afternoon, participants were invited to participate in an Office Bearer meeting, to discuss the association's activities for the next two years. Participants were reminded that the Social Enterprise economics, together with micro-finance, non-profit organisations and the cooperatives constitute main components of the third sector.   Note that, in general, 

Monday, December 14, 2015

International Conference on Islamic Economics, Governance and Social Enterprise - Day 1

Day 1
A two-day International Conference on Islamic Economics, Governance and Social Enterprise (IConIGS) 2015 was successfully held on 14-15 December, 2015 in Melaka City, Malaysia.  The conference is jointly organized by the Accounting Research Institute (ARI) & Zakat Research Institute (IKaZ) of Universiti Teknologi MARA Malaysia; International Islamic University of Chittagong, Bangladesh;  Universiti Sains Islam Malaysia (USIM), Universitas Islam Negeri Maulana Malik Ibrahim, Malang, Indonesia;  University of Riau, Indonesia; Malaysian Accountancy Research and Education Foundation and Universiti Sultan Zainal Abidin (UniSZA), Malaysia.  The main aim of the conference is to bring together academics, practitioners and industrial experts to a common forum on the issue of social business, social enterprise, non-profit organizations and development of philanthropy. The conference provides an excellent opportunity for exchange of ideas and information among researchers, academicians, practitioners and students. The conference is expected to provide meaningful findings and recent updates on the issues of social business, social enterprise and non-profit organizations in general.  Following last year's conference decision in Chittagong, Bangladesh, an International Association of Social Enterprise Economics (IASEE) was established and registered in Malaysia.  IASEE was launched by Melaka State Exco, Y.B.  Datuk Wira Latiff bin Datuk Thamby Chik  after the official opening ceremony at the Avillon Hotel Melaka.  Prior to the opening event, representatives of the main organisers and sub-organisers gave short speeches about their universities and research centres.

Sunday, December 6, 2015

ACCA MaSRA Award 2015

A few ARI research fellows, headed by the Asia-Pacific Centre for Sustainability (APCeS) head, Associate Professor Dr Faizah Darus have been involved as assessors for the annual MaSRA award which is co-organized by the Malaysian Institute of Accountants (MIA) and the Association of Certified Chartered Accountants (ACCA).  In the recent MaSRA Award event, Axiata Group Bhd was adjudged the overall champion in the ACCA Malaysia Sustainability Reporting Awards (ACCA MaSRA) for 2015.  
Axiata Group beat 50 other participants in the competition, which is in its 12th year. The competition is supported by TalentCorp and endorsed by Bursa Malaysia.  Out of the 51 organisations which took part, 20 were shortlisted with the final winners decided by a panel of judges led by Securities Commission Malaysia’s executive director of market development Goh Ching Yin.  Axiata’s report impressed the judges for the level of disclosure, which is seen to be robust and showed a good understanding of sustainability-related risks in their operations across various countries, which each have different sustainability reporting requirements.  Beyond reporting, the company also put in place policies and practices for not only its Malaysia operations but the group as a whole to ensure sustainable practices are adopted globally. Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Senator Datuk Seri Abdul Wahid Omar presented the awards at a ceremony attended by 250 business leaders and guests.

Saturday, December 5, 2015

MIA Symposium with BOD

The Accounting Research Institute (ARI) were extremely honoured to be invited to participate at a recent Corporate Board Leadership Symposium 2015 organised by the Malaysian Institute of Accountants (MIA). Themed "Powering the Board to the Next Level”, the symposium focuses on understanding the challenges and opportunities facing boardrooms today. ARI director, Professor Dr Normah Omar, has been invited to talk and moderate a plenary session on "Recognising Red Flags in Financial Statements".  One of the most important skills the boards may lack is the ability to read complex financial statements and identify red flags and suspicious transactions. This session zeroes in on the most common red flags and vulnerable areas in financial statements and suggests strategies that the boards can cultivate and apply professional scepticism to defend their organisations against financial and reputational risks.  For the session on "Recognising Red Flags in Financial Statements", the MIA has invited two very prominent professionals as plenary speakers: Ms Aida Lim Abdullah and Mr William Teo.  The session has been very interactive.

Thursday, December 3, 2015

On Site Training

Besides the normal in-class professional training, the BPKP-STAR participants were also taken onsite.  On the third day of training, Senior Fellow at the Accounting Research Institute (ARI), Professor Dr Nafsiah and training coordinaror, Ms Azlina took the trainees to two government agencies:  The Inland Revenue Board Malaysia (IRBM) and The Accountant General's Department of Malaysia (AGDM). IRBM is a government body under the Ministry of Finance.  The agency collects all types of taxes in Malaysia.  It is accountable for the overall administration of direct taxes under the various revenue acts including Stamp Act 1949, Income Tax 1967, Real Proper Gains Tax Act 1976, Labuan Offshore Business Activities Tax Act 1990, Petroleum Act 1967 and Promotion of Investment Act 1986.  The Accountant General's Department is also known as the Government Treasury and is headed by the Accountant General whose authority is derived from the Finance Administration Act of 1997, Section 5 and Section 4 of the attendant Financial Regulations of the Act.  The Accountant General's Department ensures that a proper system of accounting is established in every government agency, supervises the receipt of public revenue and ensures the prompt accounting of all revenue to meet the expenditures of the various agencies.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

BPKP-STAR Seminar with Professionals

On the second day of the BPKP-STAR Program, the Accounting Research Institute (ARI) organizes a one-day seminar on "Corporate Governance and Integrity for Public Sector" for the participants.  ARI has invited three professionals/practitioners to address the audiences.  They were namely Mr Mohamed Rezeidi, Deputy Director of the Private Sector Unit of the Malaysian Institute of Integrity (IIM), Mr Westmoreland Ajom, Superintendent and head of the forensic accounting unit of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (SPRM) and Dr. Bello Lawal Danbatta, an  Islamic Finance Expert and Group’s Chief Operating Officer (COO) of Rifcon Consulting Group.  Basically, participants were exposed to various facets of the public sector services through the set up of these government agencies. Whilst IIM was set up to promote integrity culture within the public sector, SPRM was established to mitigate corruption in government department

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Academic Symposium UiTM Kelantan

The Accounting Research Institute (ARI) congratulates Universiti Teknologi MARA (UiTM) Kelantan for successfully organising a one-day Academic Symposium for Social Science.  Themed "Embracing Research Culture: Seeing the Invisible, Transcending the Barriers", the symposium attracted more than fifty (50) full papers from academics and researchers from UiTM Kelantan.  The aim of the symposium was to obtain constructive comments from peers so that the papers could be further refined for possible publication in indexed journals.  In her keynote address delivered during the symposium, Professor Dr Normah Omar, Director of ARI advised participants to make research and publications as part of their academic culture.  Strategically, they should source for competitive research grants, work in groups and form synergistic collaborations with government agencies, public & private corporations and professional bodies.  To be relevant and resourceful, the university needs to identify its research niche and possible work on producing "practice solutions" for the industry and its local community.  During the parallel sessions, presentations were divided into various groups namely  "English as Second Language", "Business Management Productivity", "Sustainability Management & Governance", "Communication & Technology", "Students' Learning Experiences", "Knowledge Quality & Behaviour" and "Economics and Environmental Aspects".  Congratulations all for a job well done.