I had the honour of chairing the forum with the theme "Profit maximisation as the future way of doing business" A myth or reality?" organised by the Malaysian Institute of Accountants (MIA) in Kuala Lumpur yesterday.
A resounding "no" said Tan Sri Megat Najmuddin Megat Khas, President of the Federation of Public Listed Companies. He argued that Malaysian corporations learnt their lessons from the 1997 Asian financial crisis and beyond profit, two other important "P" are people and planet. According to him, the essence of all the problems faced by corporates is greed.
Datuk Abdul Samad Alias, the Chairman of Bank Pembangunan Malaysia, added that stated that the last line of defence is the person himself. "What do you do when nobody is watching" he asked rhetorically. He believes that cases like Enron would happen again in Malaysia and other parts of the world due to greed.
The concept of Human Governance was later introduced by Dato' Aziuddin Ahmad, the Professor of Risk Management at the Universiti Putra Malaysia. He argued that we need to go back to basic of being human, accountanble to self, society and planet. However, different to the Western Society where beliefs have been left out, the Eastern societies adopts values and spirituality as part of the social system. "Business ethics is an oxymoron as we cannot impose values on legal person" he said.
At the opening of the forum, Abdul Rahim Hamid, the President of MIA said that MIA would be engaging the Ministry of Higher Education to incorporate the concept of Human Governance in the accounting curriculum at universities.
I added that the way forward is for each and every accountants to reflect what little changes they could initiate immediately to ensure values are appreciated and given emphasis. Rather than waiting and complaining, little baby steps would trigger larger change.
The event was also reported by the MIA here.