KUALA LUMPUR, March 25 — Women representation on the top 100 public limited companies (PLCs) board of directors (BOD) in Malaysia currently stands at 25.8 per cent, an 82 per cent increase from 2015, 30 per cent Club Malaysia founding chair Tan Sri Zarinah Anwar said.
The former Securities Commission Malaysia chairman said women also occupied 17.2 per cent of total board seats on all PLCs in the country.
“In 2015, women represented only 14 per cent of directors on the boards of our top 100 PLCs and only 10.7 per cent of total PLCs and it has taken us six years of effort,” she said this in her welcoming remarks at 30per cent Club Malaysia’s virtual panel discussion titled “Men–who–pause” yesterday.
Zarinah said although Malaysia is the first country in the region to set a gender diversity target for PLC boards back in 2012, there are companies and PLCs which have not initiated any effort to change notwithstanding the instigation of regulators and investors.
“Today, we still have 255 PLCs with all-male boards, more than one-quarter of the total companies listed, four of which are in the Top 100,” she said.
During the panel discussion, the Institute of Corporate Directors Malaysia (ICDM) director and 30 per cent Club Malaysia mentor Datuk Seri Ahmad Johan Mohammad Raslan said board of directors and the human resources (HR) department must work hand-in-hand to drive and push for women to step up the corporate ladder.
“Women also have to seek promotion and shouldn’t be pulling back all the time. Step forward in life and ask for mentorship and sponsorship so that you can be better groomed,” he said.
He also said the reason for the 30 per cent setup for women executives on the board is to give a fair shot for women to break through the glass ceiling to the upper level of management.
Petronas’ president and group chief executive officer (CEO) Tengku Muhammad Taufik Tengku Aziz said the company have started planning the ecosystem that helped women to continue progressing beyond the managerial level, which is usually male-dominated, almost technical and operational bias.
“So, active interventions are all around addressing those conscious biases head on this vision, using unconventional methods and putting people in role play situations, in which we had some successes.
“We also believe in diversity as we are moving towards an energy industry that needs to be more customer-centric which simply needs a far more progressive and creative work environment,” he said.
He said to date, 27 per cent of Petronas’ 480,000 workforces are women and 19 per cent of senior leadership, the vice-president and above, are women.
Digi Telecommunications Sdn Bhd CEO Albern Murty said that currently, more than 40 per cent of the company’s board members are women.
“When we talk about getting the right people for a certain job or role, the best way is to look at individuals by their competence, not by gender,” he said.
Meanwhile, HSBC Bank Malaysia Bhd group general manager and CEO Stuart Milne said that currently, women accounted for 33 per cent of the senior executive-level jobs in the company and took up 54 per cent of the middle management level jobs.
“We do not set any gender target at the level of the executive committee because we just want the best persons for the jobs,” he said.
He added that women in Malaysia have a “very very strong position” in the senior management ranks like those from China, Hong Kong and Taiwan.
The 30 per cent Club is a global campaign led by chairs and chief executive officers taking action to increase gender diversity at board and senior management levels, aiming to reach at least 30 per cent representation of all women on all boards and C-suites globally.