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December 19, 2014

Malaysian profession eyes regulatory overhaul

By Isabella Grotto

Malaysia’s Finance Ministry has plans to undertake a comprehensive reform of the rules governing the accountancy profession, including the creation of a new regulatory body.

For that purpose a governmental agency, the Committee to Strengthen the Accountancy Profession (CSAP), has issue a consultation on how to improve Malaysia’s accountancy profession.

The CSAP was established as part of Malaysia’s response to the World Bank’s 2012 Report on the Observance of Standards and Codes in Accounting and Auditing (ROSC AA).

The consultation follows up on the areas of concern highlighted by ROSC AA and outlines a set of proposals, notably the creation of a new regulatory body.

As such the regulatory role of the Malaysian Institute of Accountants (MIA) would be replaced with a new structure "with better checks and balances" and disciplinary structures, in an attempt to totally reset the profession and revamp its governance.

Further stated objectives of the recommendations include ensuring the supply of professional accountants necessary for the country’s economy and rearranging the accountancy profession’s governance in order to promote effectiveness.

The consultation report also recommends strengthening small and medium-sized practices, as well as enhancing the competitive edge of the industry by developing specialised competencies in areas such as Islamic finance.

The report also suggests increased education may help transform the Malaysian profession into "the hub for accountancy and training" in the region -rivalling with its Singaporean neighbours which have set the same goal for 2020.

A strategy for changeThe CSAP’s report comes at a time of significant change for Malaysia’s accounting profession.

It recently became the latest of a string of nations who have set out to reform their public sector accounting systems, with government chief secretary Ali Hamsa calling on his administration in May to reaffirm the country’s commitment to moving to accrual accounting by 2015.

The same push for change has heralded increased international cooperation for the Malay accountancy industry’s professional bodies.

At the World Congress of Accountants (WCOA) in Rome in November, the MIA signed a Memorandum of Agreement (MoA) with the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants.

Roundabout the same time, the MIA also signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants.

Both agreements are aimed at aiding the development of Malaysia’s accountancy profession.

The deadline to participate in the consultation is 31 January 2015.

Related articles:

Malaysia: Breaching the skill gap

Countries bring themselves to account

MIA and CIMA confirm cooperation agreement

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