Sarawak Energy and 30% Club Malaysia Collaborates on Diversity & Inclusion: Increasing Women Participation on PLC Boards

KUCHING, 4 FEBRUARY 2019, MONDAY: The 30% Club Malaysia Chapter in Partnership with Sarawak Energy Leading Women Network (SELWN) and Leadwomen held a Roundtable Discussion in Kuching recently. 

The roundtable discussion was held following the Corporate Governance Strategic Priorities (2017-2020) announced by the Securities Commission Malaysia (SC) last year, which included increased gender diversity on boards of listed companies and enhancing overall board leadership and effectiveness as one of its priorities. 

The roundtable discussion was chaired by Tan Sri Zarinah Anwar, former Chairman, Securities Commission Malaysia, who is also one of the Founding Chairs of the 30% Club Malaysia.  The other panel members were Aisah Eden, Executive Champion of SELWN and Anne Abraham, Chairman of LeadWomen.

Held for the first time in Kuching, the roundtable discussion is a private sector initiative by the 30% Club to engage related parties from Sarawak and Sabah in discussion relating to increase representation of women on the Board of PLCs (Public Listed Companies) in Malaysia in line with SC’s directive.

In her briefing earlier, Zarinah said the 30 per cent requirement has been incorporated in the Malaysian Code of Corporate Governance which was intended for PLCs to comply with. However, it is also encouraging to see that more and more non-listed companies were also making the effort to include women on their boards in line with the global initiatives on diversity and inclusion.

“Encouraging diversity in boards and senior management is more than just addressing the issue of gender inequality. It is a business issue; studies have shown a positive correlation between gender diverse boards and financial performance of companies.

“Greater diversity at decision-making levels leads to more robust decisions being made. In promoting gender diversity, we are not talking about replacing men with women, but rather we are promoting a balance of competent men and women whose different approaches and perspectives can contribute to more considered decisions.”

Across all 943 PLCs, the number of companies with 30 per cent or more women on the board numbered 147 whereas the number of companies with no women on the board is 304.

Anne who is a strong advocate for women leadership development, shared some of her views:

“There is a need to redefine the leadership framework to accommodate a healthy diversity at the management level by having more women at the leadership round table. This is what we at LeadWomen are working on to support by bringing together potential women candidates and corporations and facilitating placement of capable women in senior leadership and board positions.”

Meanwhile, Aisah said diversity and inclusion form the basis for equal opportunities for growth within Sarawak Energy. Building on this, SELWN was formed as a professional networking platform with the principal objective to develop and empower women leaders.

“SELWN plays an important part in promoting and implementing the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal No 5 on gender equality and women empowerment. We encourage the participations of our women in similar roundtable discussions, forum, collaboration and networking as a prerequisite and immersion for future leadership role”.

Altogether 25 participants from public and various other sectors such as, professional bodies, Government Linked Companies (GLCs) and academicians from local universities and higher learning institutions from Sarawak and Sabah participated in the roundtable discussion.  More of such discussions have been planned in the future as follow-ups from this.

First time held in Kuching- The 30% Club Roundtable Discussion: Standing front row from left- Anne Abraham, Chairman of LeadWomen, Tan Sri Zarinah Anwar, Founding Chairs of the 30% Club Malaysia, Aisah Eden, Executive Champion of SELWN with the other participants.

Aisah Eden, Executive Champion of SELWN delivering her welcoming remarks at the discussion along with (from left) Anne Abraham, Chairman of LeadWomen and Tan Sri Zarinah Anwar, Founding Chair of the 30% Club Malaysia.