Finance Minister announces Transformation Programme for Public Listed Companies

The Finance Minister of Malaysia, Tengku Datuk Seri Utama Zafrul bin Tengku Abdul Aziz, announced on 14 October 20211 that the Government will be embarking on a PLC Transformation (‘PLCT’) programme for public listed companies (‘PLCs’).
The PLCT programme, which will be spearheaded by Bursa Malaysia, aims to transform Malaysian corporates into high-performing entities by focusing on five pillars, namely:
  • to be Performance Driven;
  • to grow as Sustainable, Socially Responsible and Ethical organisations;
  • to embody Strengthened Corporate Governance;
  • to be Digitally Enabled; and
  • to contribute towards overall Nation Building imperatives, 
(collectively, ‘Five Pillars’).
The PLCT programme will include the issuance of five digital guideline books - one for each of the Five Pillars (‘Guideline Books’). The first book will be issued by end-2021 and a new book is to be made available each quarter, with the full set to be published by December 2022.
The Finance Minister said the Guideline Books will provide best practices and guidance with benchmarks and case studies for PLCs to spearhead their transformation journey (‘Guidelines’). The Guidelines will be relevant to all PLCs, regardless of size, in becoming better and stronger corporates and enhance their attractiveness to global investors. The Minister added that the Guidelines will not be prescriptive but will be developed in consultation with corporate leaders, fund managers as well as institutional investors, to ensure that they are impactful. 
According to Tengku Zafrul, the PLCT programme will run from 2021 to 2025. He hopes to see PLCs progress in numerous areas including building a stronger financial position and enhancing their board composition, thereby better positioning them to contribute to the national agenda. To promote transparency and effective achievement of the intended outcomes, the progress of PLCs’ efforts will be monitored and shared via a digital dashboard.
The Minister added that the PLCT programme seeks to complement the Perkukuh Pelaburan Rakyat (‘PERKUKUH’) programme for Government Linked Investment Companies (GLICs) announced on 12 August 2021. Our write-up on the PERKUKUH programme can be accessed here.
There is no doubt that the principles enshrined in the Five Pillars are noble objectives. However, it must be recognised that companies listed on the LEAP Market, the ACE Market and the Main Market, as well as companies within each of these markets, are at different stages of development and have different levels of management expertise and financial resources. It is hoped that the PLCT programme will take into account these realities and not adopt a one-size fits all approach that is benchmarked solely against the very best of the Malaysian PLCs, but will adopt a tailored and progressive approach that enables PLCs with less resources to achieve these objectives over a longer timeframe.
Alert by Kok Chee Kheong (Partner) and Tan Wei Xian (Senior Associate) of the Corporate Practice of Skrine.

1 The announcement was issued at the 19th instalment of Invest Malaysia (IMKL 2021) held on 14 October 2021.

This alert contains general information only. It does not constitute legal advice nor an expression of legal opinion and should not be relied upon as such. For further information, kindly contact