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All-male board only in seven top firms, SC says as women power up in 2018.

The lipstick squad is off to a great start this year with the Securities Commission (SC) announcing today that there are only seven public- listed companies in the top 100 nationwide that still have an all-male boardroom.

The seven companies on Bursa Malaysia that have yet to see a woman join the board as at January 17 are financial firms Affin Holdings Bhd, Alliance Bank Bhd and Batu Kawan Bhd; food and beverage maker Fraser and Neave Holdings Bhd; the multi-industry Genting Malaysia Bhd and sister company Genting Plantations Bhd; and leading property developer UOA Development Bhd.

The SC touted this as a 65 per cent improvement compared to December 31, 2016 when there were 20 companies that had yet to embrace women in their boardroom.

'In this regard, promoting gender diversity on boards of listed companies remains a priority of the Securities Commission Malaysia (SC),' it said in a statement.

The SC also said it understands some of the seven companies are already taking steps to identify suitable women candidates for their boardrooms.

'Fraser and Neave will be nominating two women candidates to be appointed as board members in their upcoming annual general meeting,' it noted, adding that it and the 30% Club Malaysia - which the government launched in May three years ago - are actively engaged these companies.

'Moving forward, SC will review and analyse corporate governance disclosures to monitor the level of implementation of CG practices including gender diversity.

'These observations will be published by the SC through periodic corporate governance thematic reports,' it added.

The SC pointed out that last April 26, it had set a target for the country's top 100 companies to break out of the all-male boardroom barrier by year end.

As at December 31 last year, 19.2 per cent of companies have welcomed women into the ranks of board directors, the SC said.

It added that its Malaysian Code on Corporate Governance also stated that those listed as 'large companies' within the guidebook are expected to have at least 30 per cent women directors by year end, to correspond with the government's launch of 2018 as the year of women empowerment.

The government has outlined a target of 59 per cent women's participation in the workforce by 2020 as part of the 11th Malaysia Plan, compared to 56 per cent currently.

A study by Khazanah Research Institute found that Malaysia ranked 106 out of 144 in the region in terms of women participating in the workforce.

Comparatively the Philippines ranked seventh, Singapore 55th, Thailand at 71th and Indonesia at 88th place.

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Publication:Malay Mail Online (Petaling Jaya, Malaysia)
Geographic Code:9MALA
Date:Jan 21, 2018
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