Thursday 28 July 2016

So, what are you doing now?

That was the typical question which I was asked during the many open houses which I attended. Many people thought I had secured another job before leaving my past positions.

'Full time on Facebook" I told them. They did not believe me.

To understand where I am heading, let me share with you a bit about my journey so far.

My years at MRSM Kota Bharu and Perth really shaped my characters. I am thankful to my teachers in Pengkalan Chepa who did not only teach me academic subjects but nurtured me to lead myself and others. In the MRSM system those days, teachers were also your facilitators, they let you explore life, pointing you the direction and providing helping hands when you fell.

We learned to choose what was right and wrong ourselves while our teachers were observing at the side, ready to lead us back to the mid stream in case we wondered away too far.

That, together with the upbringing from my parents and grandparents, prepared me to live on my own at the age of 18 when I was sent to Perth. Deciding what was the right thing to do as a young person in a foreign land when anything was possible reinforced my character further.

Upon my graduation I worked in small accounting firms in Perth and Kuala Lumpur. While guidance was available, one had to explore things by oneself when working in those kind of outfits. If one was not a self-starter and self-driven, life would be very challenging.

I later started my own accounting practice and later with few like-minded friends founded a larger partnership. I left the firm to pursue my passion in strategy advisory. During this stage, I was involved with many businesses and organisations. I saw how they grew and prosper and also their failures.

This was also the stage where I was involved with the accountancy profession, in Malaysia, regionally and globally. The peak was when I was elected to lead the local national accounting body.

Along the way I was given the opportunity to be involved with national bodies or initiatives spanning from export of professional services, trade negotiation, overseeing conducts of companies, education to the promotion of integrity and anti-corruption.

I was later given the opportunity to set up a regulatory structure overseeing auditors. In the last 2 years of this, I was also given the responsibility to oversee critical components of our RM 2.5 trillion capital market. This experience provided me with the appreciation of the value of honesty and integrity, especially when I saw how value was destroyed when honesty and integrity were compromised.

Now I am back to where I was before being a regulator. I was blessed with all the opportunities and experience and I believe it would be worthy for me to share them with individuals and organisations in the areas of leadership, governance and strategy. Re-starting my strategy advisory thing which I left  earlier would be something logical. Except that I have more experience and insights to share.

I believe being on boards of companies as a challenge to walk my talk. Hence, I had accepted and may accept a handful of board positions.

Entrepreneurship is very important in making Malaysia a more prosperous nation. So, I would also be sharing my views, ideas and experience in helping entrepreneurs to make their businesses sustainable.

We need more capable and honest leaders to bring this country to better heights. For that to happen we need a society which places competency and honesty above everything else. This is where I am excited to inspire Malaysians, one heart at a time, not to be scared to be honest.

While many of us may be enjoying good life, I am aware of many other Malaysians who are not that fortunate. I would like to work with many other like-minded Malaysians to do whatever that I could to bring smiles and cheers to the faces of these unfortunate Malaysians.

I had made many mistakes in my life. However, one thing which I had learnt was, if we honestly wanted to do the right thing but we still got it wrong, the final outcomes would not be that bad. 

As a servant, I pray to Allah for His guidance and blessing. I hope I would be able to do whatever little good to myself, my family, my society, my country and the world at large.

This is my answer to the simple question.

Wit Tan Sri Abu Kassim, the outgoing head of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission before his "early retirement"