Bursa Malaysia applauds PLCs embracing board gender diversity

KUALA LUMPUR: Bursa Malaysia Securities Bhd has lauded the efforts of public listed companies (PLCs) demonstrating positive action on gender diversity in their board composition.

Chief executive officer Datuk Muhamad Umar Swift said Bursa Malaysia applauds the majority of PLCs that have complied with that expectation announced eighteen months ago.

"It is a significant step in the right direction for corporate Malaysia. However, it is worth noting that several PLCs have yet to conform to the requirement.

"We must quickly address the issue of some PLCs still retaining all-male boards," he said in a statement today.

As at May 1, 2023, the average percentage of female directors stand at approximately 22 per cent of companies listed on Bursa Malaysia, the statement said.

According to the Gender Equality in Corporate Leadership: Regional Analysis Report in December 2022, Malaysia is one of only four emerging markets where women hold board seats in more than 20 per cent of the top 100 PLCs.

Among the challenges in the journey towards achieving the aspirational 30 per cent target is to examine the practice of some PLCs having an all-male board, the stock exchange said.

To catalyse change, the exchange said in January 2022 that PLCs with market capitalisation of RM2 billion as at Dec 31, 2021 are to appoint at least one female board member by Sept 1, 2022.

The requirement must be complied with by June 1, 2023 with Bursa Malaysia taking appropriate regulatory actions for non-compliance, it said.

"The exchange will reinforce the need for the board of directors to exhibit exemplary standards of responsibility and accountability towards driving corporate performance, while upholding diversity, equity and inclusion principles,” added Umar.

Main Market PLCs are required to manage and promote diversity by implementing relevant policies, processes and initiatives and to make corresponding disclosures within their sustainability statement or report starting from financial year ending Dec 31, 2023.

ACE Market PLCs would be subject to these requirements from financial year ending Dec 31, 2025. - Bernama

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