Shareholders urged to appoint watchdog group


BY K.P. LEE

MINORITY shareholders who believe their companies’ directors or officers are failing to practise good corporate governance have been urged to appoint the Minority Shareholder Watchdog Group (MSWG) as their proxies to attend general meetings. 

The watchdog group said that it was actively looking to attend as many of these meetings as possible to kick start a new wave of shareholder activism in the country.  

This would lead to greater levels of accountability and transparency in the boardrooms of corporate Malaysia. 

MSWG consultant Lim Hock Chye said that even with the increased emphasis on corporate governance and the new listing requirements of the KLSE, some public companies were still breaching laws and the code on corporate governance.  

“Unfortunately, minority shareholders tend to be at the receiving end of these breaches but often feel powerless to do anything about them,” he said. 

Lim highlighted situations such as directors of distressed companies awarding themselves unreasonably high pay or perks, related party transactions involving directors or their families, and hurriedly executed corporate transactions of dubious benefit to the company as “red flags” which should alert that something could be amiss and called on such shareholders to contact the watchdog group. 

“We welcome all complaints concerning activities relating to minority shareholders' interests provided they appear to be valid cases of minority oppression,” Lim told StarBiz yesterday after speaking at a seminar on directors' corporate liability in Petaling Jaya. 

The event was jointly organised by AAO Pana Insurance Brokers Sdn Bhd and Ace Synergy Insurance Bhd. 

Ace senior manager Oliver Tan said the more onerous responsibility shouldered by directors meant that professionals who were invited to become board members or independent directors were also much more selective in the companies they choose to be associated with. 

He said that increasingly, the prospective directors would want to join companies displaying a good record of risk management and corporate governance.  

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