30% Club Malaysia Calls For More Diverse Boards Beyond The 30% Threshold

Speaking at the 30% Club Malaysia’s Board Mentoring celebratory event, Tan Sri Abdul Wahid Omar, Chair of Bursa Malaysia, WWF Malaysia and Yayasan MySDG, called for boards of public listed companies (PLCs) to embrace diversity comprehensively while striving to achieve at least 30% female representation, as prescribed by the Malaysian Code of Corporate Governance.

Despite notable strides made within the top 100 PLCs listed on Bursa Malaysia—where women held 30.2% of board seats and 57 companies boast at least 30% women representation—it is noteworthy that only 247 companies among the other 879 PLCs have reached this 30% threshold, according to data published by the Securities Commission as at 1 August 2023.

“The 30% milestone represents a tipping point for companies to unlock significant advantages through diversity. Embracing diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) at the leadership level is a source of strength for any organisation as they tend to perform better and are more sustainable. While I am heartened that larger PLCs have responded to the Prime Minister and regulators’ call for gender diversity, I would urge the smaller PLCs to likewise adopt DEI in their boards. Collectively, the time has also come for diversity to be broadened further to cover ethnic and age diversity in boardrooms and management,” he said.

Dato’ Ami Moris, Chair of the 30% Club Malaysia and Advisor at Maybank said, “In today’s
dynamic business landscape, boards must transform to meet the evolving needs and
demographics of their employees, customers, and investors to flourish. As we progress towards gender parity, a balanced ratio of men and women, in the boardroom and management, the boards of the future will naturally become more diverse, encompassing different skillsets, socio- economic backgrounds and geographical origins, including Sabah and Sarawak. In pursuit of this vision, the 30% Club’s Board Mentoring Scheme, in collaboration with our strategic partner PwC Malaysia, is dedicated to nurturing a diverse pipeline of board-ready women.”

Since its inception in 2017, the Board Mentoring Scheme has guided 106 senior women leaders over eight cohorts, and 40% have secured board roles in PLCs, SMEs and industry associations. Each mentee receives formal mentoring over nine months.

Pauline Ho, Partner at PwC and steering committee member of the 30% Club Malaysia said,
“Each year, we pair 15 to 20 women, and in the upcoming ninth cohort, up to 30, with senior board members and business leaders. Our cohorts are becoming more diverse to address the immediate and future requirements of boards. Mentees hail from a variety of backgrounds, such as sustainability, marketing and communications, human resources, entrepreneurship, legal and finance, demonstrating the 30% Club’s commitment towards DEI.”

In a broader context, DEI represents a pivotal component in realising the United Nations’
Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Tan Sri Wahid who is also the Chair of Yayasan MySDG said, “While DEI is primarily linked to SDG 5 (Gender Equality) and SDG 10 (Reduced Inequalities), infusing the values and mindset of DEI into the achievement of all 17 SDGs is essential for fostering a fairer, more inclusive and sustainable world. In the context of Malaysia, DEI supports the government’s MADANI ambition, and it is timely to acknowledge this connection as we approach Malaysia Day on September 16th.”

Founded by the Ministry of Finance, Yayasan MySDG aims to mobilise funds locally and
internationally to support the attainment of the SDGs in a collaborative and ensuring no one is left behind.

The event today celebrated the eighth cohort of mentees’ completion of the 30% Club Malaysia’s Board Mentoring Scheme and welcomed the ninth cohort. The Scheme is a major initiative of the 30% Club and PwC Malaysia to prepare and raise the visibility of women leaders and professionals in taking on board positions.

Maybank is the Corporate Sponsor of the 30% Club Malaysia.

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