From Our Chairman’s Desk

Bursa Speaks

From Our Chairman’s Desk

  • From Our Chairman’s Desk In an inaugural open letter to Chairpersons of all issuers listed on our exchange, our Chairman, Tan Sri Abdul Wahid Omar, shares his thoughts and vision for the Malaysian capital market.
  • Date: Mar 11, 2021
  • Category: Bursa Speaks
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In an inaugural open letter to Chairpersons of all issuers listed on our exchange, our Chairman, Tan Sri Abdul Wahid Omar, shares his thoughts and vision for the Malaysian capital market. He stresses the importance of long-term resilience strategies as the country recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic, sending a reminder that social inclusivity and environmental sustainability should be a focus of building back better collectively for corporate Malaysia.

9 March 2021

To my fellow Chairpersons,

It has been a year since we were hit by COVID-19 pandemic that has kept us up and wary. This trying time for all Malaysian corporates has forced us to change the way we do business and at a pace that none of us had anticipated. Within months, many of us made major strategic decisions to negotiate around business disruption. Some of us sought new partnerships that were necessary for adapting, and most found ourselves relating more empathetically to the needs of the wider society. While the adjustments may have been daunting for most companies, they were in fact business resilience strategies that corporate sustainability has long been advocating for.

Integrating sustainability strategies into business does take visionary know-how. They often require significant reprioritisation and, in some cases, challenge our business ethos. As chairpersons of public listed companies, we want to spearhead responsible and prosperous businesses. We want to know that we are growing value. The numbers do lend support. Throughout the pandemic, stocks with higher ESG ratings had outperformed others all over the world. In Malaysia, the FTSE4Good Bursa Malaysia (F4GBM) index has consistently outperformed our benchmark index, the FBM KLCI, since it was launched.

COVID-19 has rapidly shifted much focus to quick solutions that coincide with values which promote sustainability. But the emphasis on long-term intention and commitment is crucial. It will not be enough to retrospectively respond to fleeting warning signals or to rely on temporary fixes; because existential risks are here to stay. To maintain business competitiveness, it is in our best interest to proactively consider the modern global trends and their implications on our businesses. How has globalisation changed? Which technologies will be transformational? In what ways are businesses accountable to society?

At the beginning of the Movement Control Order in 2020, Bursa Malaysia introduced relief measures to ease compliance for our public listed companies and enable flexibility for fundraising. This year, Bursa Malaysia has made a commitment to contribute 1% of our profit after tax for 2020, into corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiatives. We acknowledge that while this virus does not discriminate, its impacts are disproportionately felt among the poor and vulnerable. Building back better for Malaysian corporations must mean building back equitably, for the benefit of both the people and the environment that support us. So, let us continue to find strengths in our respective capacities, ensure that relief funds are spent on those who are most in need, and collectively, I believe we will better weather this storm.

To recover holistically, as corporate stewards, we must set an example by anchoring re-growth on social inclusivity and environmental sustainability. As organisations, we are innovative and agile. COVID-19 has demanded extraordinary policy responses from us yet we continue to answer with unprecedented innovation to stay afloat, mitigate, and adapt to change. The ensuing challenge for us will be whether we can manifest this aptitude for reinvention into longer-term solutions. Can we look further afield towards achievement of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals 2030? The SDGs are a blueprint to a sustainable future for all, individuals and organisations alike, lest we forget corporations are intrinsic to our social fabric. Collectively we play an unquestionable role in reducing global catastrophic risks.

In November 2021, at the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Glasgow, Scotland, we will get a stock take of the world’s responses to one of the greatest crises of our time – climate change. We must keep ourselves reminded that our businesses must not be short-sighted. Climate risks are a universal sustainability issue - there is guidance available to us such as the recommendations of the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures to navigate the uncertainty of a future business climate. Bursa Malaysia is committed to leading the way. In 2020, Bursa Malaysia had chosen to incorporate sustainable development agenda into our refined vision: to be ASEAN’s leading, sustainable and globally-connected marketplace. We believe that embracing the principles of sustainability will build our resilience to change, as we ensure governance, transparency, and accountability take heightened roles.

As Chairpersons of public listed companies, we have a shared responsibility to craft a new vision for leadership in corporate Malaysia. Together we can build a prosperous, responsive, equitable, caring, and sustainable society. I look forward to seeing you on this journey toward restored growth and shared hope. Stay safe, healthy and constructive!

Yours sincerely,

Tan Sri Abdul Wahid Omar
Chairman
Bursa Malaysia Berhad

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