Gender-wise, the breakdown is 139 men and 81 women for directors between 50- and 69-years old age bracket
by M JAY SHEILA & HAJAR UMIRA MD ZAKI / pic BLOOMBERG
PUBLIC listed companies (PLCs) hold a prominent position within the global business landscape, representing organisations that have chosen to go public and offer their shares to the general public through a stock exchange.
PLCs are subject to regulatory requirements and are governed by a board of directors responsible for making strategic decisions and safeguarding the interests of shareholders.
In this analysis, The Malaysian Reserve (TMR) combed through the board of directors of the 30 companies that make up the FBM KLCI.
In essence, the KLCI is supposed to provide a platform for a wider range of investable and appealing opportunities. The index comprises the largest 30 companies listed on the Main Board by full market capitalisation that meet the eligibility requirements of the FBM Ground Rules.
The two main eligibility requirements stated in the ground rules are the free float and liquidity requirements. Each company is required to have a minimum free float of 15%. A liquidity screen is applied to ensure the company’s stocks are liquid enough to be traded.
Hence, the directors are overseeing some of the more sought-after companies in Malaysia.
Three out of four directors of Malaysia’s largest 30 companies listed on the Main Board of the local stock exchange are between the ages of between 50 and 69, while women make up one third of the boards of those companies.
On the whole, 220 of the 289 directors sitting on the 30 largest PLCs are from that age, according to an analysis undertaken by TMR. Gender-wise, the breakdown is 139 men and 81 women for directors in that age bracket.
All in, there are 93 women directors sitting on the boards of the 30 companies that constitute the FTSE Bursa Malaysia KLCI (FBM KLCI).
38 to 90
At 90, Tan Sri Raja Muhammad Alias Raja Muhammad Ali, the chairman of Kuala Lumpur Kepong Bhd (KLK), is the oldest of them all. Known as RM Alias, he played an instrumental role at Federal Land Development Authority (Felda) which he served for more than 31⁄2 decades from April 1966 until his retirement as group chairman in June 2001. He joined KLK’s board in July 1978 and has been the chairman of KLK since 2008.
Trailing him are Hong Leong Financial Group Bhd chairman Tan Sri Quek Leng Chan, 88, and Genting (M) Bhd chairman Tan Sri Alwi Jantan. Quek is an entrepreneur-driven billionaire and the co-founder
of what is easily one of the largest conglomerates in Malaysia. Alwi, on the other hand, brings to the table years of experience as a civil servant. He retired as Public Service Malaysia DG before joining Genting in 1990 as an executive VP and later took up various other positions.
At the other end of the age spectrum, the youngest director is Datuk Indera Lim Keong Hui, 38, the deputy CEO/ED at Genting Bhd. He is the son of Tan Sri Lim Kok Thay, the deputy chairman and ED of the company. They are major shareholders of the company. So, his family connections landed him a plum directorship that would usually come around at least a decade later to a majority of men who become directors of PLCs eventually.
Then comes Lee Jia Zhang, 39, the ED/ COO of Kuala Lumpur Kepong Bhd (KLK), one of the nation’s largest plantations groups. He is the third generation of the family-owned empire, following the footsteps of his father Tan Sri Lee Oi Hian and his grandather Tan Sri Lee Loy Seng, the rubber baron who founded the company.
Next comes Abdulaziz Abdullah M Alghamdi, 40, from Maxis Bhd; Bryan Lim Tsin-Lin, 44, from IHH Healthcare Bhd; and Norazah Mohamed Razali, 48, from MISC Bhd.
Women in the Ranks
The 30 large PLCs that make up the FBM KLCI check out when it comes to having 30% women participate in their boards.
When the net is cast wider, 52 of the top 100 listed companies have achieved the 30% target, according to numbers cited by the Securities Commission (SC) chairman Datuk Seri Awang Adek Hussin in a speech in September 2022. As at September 2022, SC noted that 350 listed companies or 36.5% out of the total listed companies in Bursa Malaysia have only one woman director on their boards.
Khatijah Begom Shah Mohamed, 67, is currently CelcomDigi Bhd independent non-ED. She was appointed on Nov 30, 2022. She began her career with International Business Machines Corp (IBM) in 1978 where she served for 15 years in Sales and Marketing, Business Development and General Management. She had also worked in Hong Kong and the US while with IBM. Khatijah later became Oracle Systems Malaysia MD in 1994, before joining SAP Malaysia as the MD in 1999, responsible for Malaysia, Brunei, and Pakistan markets.
Veterinarian Datin Paduka Setia Datuk Dr Aini Ideris serves on the board of QL Resources Bhd, an integrated agro-based business group. Dr Aini, 69, a one-time vice-chancellor of Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM), is currently the Pro-Chancellor of International Medical University (IMU). She also sits on the board of Malayan Flour Mills Bhd.
By recognising the significance of gender diversity and actively working towards achieving balanced board compositions, companies can harness the full potential of diverse talents, foster innovation and contribute to a more inclusive and sustainable business environment in Malaysia.
- This article first appeared in The Malaysian Reserve weekly print edition