A friend of mine who is a Chartered Accountant from Australia (his father was also a Chartered Accountant from Australia!) forwarded me with number of old newspaper articles regarding the Colombo Plan, an initiative to advance the social and economic status of people from South East Asia.
It was very interesting that accountancy was identified as a profession which is important in nation building. Hence, under the Colombo Plan, quite a number of young Malays from Malaysia was sent to Australia to pursue the Chartered Accountancy qualification.
Given that NO CONCESSION was given to these young Malaysians, they were selected based on their potential. Way back in the 50's, when globalisation was yet to be a concern and the need to be competitive was not as critical as today, these young Malays were expected to achieve the same standards as those Chartered Accountants in Australia.
It is very difficult for me not to acknowledge the progressiveness of the thinking of out forefathers in building this nation. To be successful, one has to attain REAL COMPETENCY and COMPETENCY CANNOT BE FAKED through nice soundings qualification when the underlying substance were never tested and proven.
Fast forward into the future and more than 60 years later, we are still struggling to decide whether accountants here should demonstrate their competency before being recognised as one!
If we consider the earlier batches of Malays who pursued and attained their professional qualification in Australia under the Colombo Plan, they did not disappoint the nation. Many were involved in the setting up of many institutions which are the pillars of our society today. Some when into public accountancy and were the pioneers in setting up what presently known as the Big-4 firms. Others went into entrepreneurship and some ended up as successful entrepreneurs or professional managers.
Nation building is tough and it requires people who are capable and have the ability to compete with the best. Once we pitch our people just to be the average Joe, the risks of complacency and mediocrity would be amplified and as a nation we could lose our competitiveness.
Let's have some ideas about the Colombo Plan on accountancy from these newspaper cuttings.