The Companies Commission of Malaysia (SSM) refer to the letter “Tighten Rules For Company Secretaries” (The Star, 2 April 2013). SSM would like to thank the writer for his feedback.SSM wish to respond and provide explanation to the comments made.

SSM agree with the writer that only qualified persons should practice as company secretaries, given that their role today goes beyond merely performing the administrative duties for a company. They are also required to advise on statutory compliance matters under the Companies Act 1965 and ensuring good corporate governance is practiced by the board of directors.

Under the Companies Act 1965, a person is qualified to act as a company secretary when he or she is licensed by the Registrar of Companies or is a member of a professional body prescribed by the Minister of Domestic Trade, Co-operatives and Consumerism published in the Gazette.  Currently, the prescribed bodies are the Malaysian Institute of Chartered Secretaries and Administrators (MAICSA), Malaysian Institute of Accountants (MIA), Malaysian Institute of Certified Public Accountants (MICPA),the Bar Council of Malaysia, Sabah Law Association, Advocates Association of Sarawak and the Malaysian Association of Company Secretaries (MACS).

The licensing process of company secretaries by SSM includes evaluating that the applicant is fit and proper to act as company secretary.  The applicant’s background, work experience, academic qualifications and knowledge of company law will be assessed by SSM.

Company secretaries must continuously undergo courses and training under the Continuing Professional Education (CPE) requirement to enhance their standard of professionalism. Notably, SSM has implemented a requirement that licensed company secretaries must regularly attend a minimum number of training sessions or courses in a specified time period before they are allowed to renew their licenses.

SSM is fully committed in its functions as the nation’s corporate regulatory authority to ensure that only competent and qualified persons are granted license to practice as company secretaries in Malaysia. In this respect, SSM have taken enforcement actions against errant licensed company secretaries who had failed to perform his or her duties professionaly as company secretaries. These enforcement action includes the issuance of show cause letter, private reprimand, blacklisting and referral to prescribed bodies for disciplinary action. In a more serious cases, the license of the company secretaries will be revoked and court action will be instituted against them.

Nevertheless, there may be several irresponsible individuals who may have misrepresented themselves to the public that they arequalified ‘company secretaries’. As such, SSM advises the public, especially company directors, to conduct due inquiry in choosing and appointing their company secretaries. The public may verify the status of any company secretaries with SSM via email at [email protected] or by calling SSM Contact Centre at telephone number 03 77214000 or fax 03 77214001.

MOHD NAIM DARUWISH
Chief Executive Officer
Companies Commission of Malaysia (SSM)
5 April 2013