KUALA LUMPUR (Sept 13): For all public-listed companies (PLC) in Malaysia to have 30% women on boards, 351 women are needed to join the boardroom, said Datuk Ami Moris, chair of 30% Club Malaysia and advisor of Maybank Group.
Ami was speaking at the 30% Club Malaysia Board Mentoring Celebration on Wednesday, which also welcomed the biggest number of mentees for the new cohort of its board mentoring programme.
The number that she cited is from the Securities Commission (SC) Malaysia as at June 1, 2023, assuming each woman holds one board position.
The SC’s target to have 30% of women on the board of large PLCs, which was stated in the Malaysian Code on Corporate Governance, was achieved in June this year.
This was partly due to Bursa Malaysia’s requirement in 2021 for all PLCs to appoint at least one women director by June 1, 2023, said Tan Sri Zarinah Anwar, founding chair of 30% Club Malaysia.
“The 30% is not a ceiling but a floor, a stepping stone towards amplifying minority voices and our unwavering support for diversity,” said Zarinah.
“It is our firm belief that gender diversity on boards and at senior management levels strengthens leadership and governance.”
Since the 30% Club Malaysia was established in 2015, participation of women on boards of top PLCs rose from 14% to 30.6% as of present day, Zarinah said. For all PLCs, the percentage grew from 10.7% to 25%.
“106 of women have gone through the mentoring scheme and 40% have secured board positions,” she said.
Currently, there are 19 PLCs that still have all-male boards, Ami pointed out during a conversation with Bursa Malaysia, WWF-Malaysia and Yayasan MySDG chairman Tan Sri Abdul Wahid Omar at the event.
A more diverse and inclusive workforce has a high correlation with better performance and resilience of companies, she said. Diversity also goes beyond gender to ethnicity, age and geography.
This was echoed by Abdul Wahid, who said it is important to intervene when there is a lack of diversity, equity and inclusion.
He said that during his time as the chief executive officer of Maybank over a decade ago, the team made a conscious decision to expand their pool of candidates for one of their graduate hiring programmes. This was to ensure that they had candidates from East Malaysia, Sabah and Sarawak, who tend to be under-represented.
“It is important for us to intervene and do the right thing, rather than leaving things to process and chance when you see the outcomes are not fair or equitable,” he said.