I’m a finance analyst in a major telecommunication company in Malaysia. After completing my studies in Kolej Islam Sultan Alam Shah Klang, I had the opportunity to study accountancy in the University of Manchester, United Kingdom. After 4 years abroad, I returned home to serve my country and decided to pursue professional qualifications to become a certified public accountant (CPA).
In the beginning of my CPA course, one of the compulsory modules is ethics before moving on to more complicated and technical modules like audit, taxation etc. I was initially perplexed as to why it was so important, to the extent that there was a whole module dedicated to this topic and not merely a single chapter in a module.
During my studies, I discovered that a major contributor to global financial crises or GFC is the failure of accountants to fulfill their roles as custodians of the public and to protect their interests.
As accountants move further away from integrity, objectivity and professionalism, they will not be able to provide a true and fair view of the organisation’s financial position. This may then lead to corporate collapses such as Lehman Brothers.
Let us look at this issue from a different perspective, as we move away from the business world to governing a country. How are ethics and integrity being upheld in the current government’s policies?
After thorough research, I realise that Malaysia can be considered one of the most corrupt countries in the world. Due to major corruption scandals like 1MDB, Malaysia is at its worst position; recently ranked 62nd in 2017 Corruption Perceptions Index compared to 55th position in 2016. Thus, not surprisingly, 71 political leaders within the current ruling party have been investigated for bribery in the last 4 years.
To make matters worse, the current economic policy is unfair to Malaysian citizens. The rocketing living costs remain a big concern among Malaysians, as revealed by a research by Universiti Malaya. The implementation of GST also creates additional burden for low and middle income groups, due to a slow increase of household income.
The recent Bank Negara annual report also revealed that unsold housing units have increased by approximately 23% in 2017 simply because the price was simply not affordable by the majority of Malaysians.
Therefore, in choosing the next government in the coming GE14, I firmly believe that we need to factor in matters of integrity and professionalism in our decision. There is no point in electing someone from the best university in the world, if the skills and knowledge learnt is merely to be used to serve his or her own self interest.
We do not need a leader who is an expert in all fields. However, we do need a just and conscientious leader who will appoint the best person to lead, based on his expertise and professional ability, and that is the spirit of ‘Kerajaan Teknokrat’ as promoted by Parti Islam Se Malaysia (PAS).
I believe it is time for us to change so we can create a better Malaysia. I might not be someone important but let us fulfill our roles as responsible Malaysians.
Why don’t you join me in creating a better Malaysia?
Shaheer Shahidan is a proud Malaysian, a soon to be full fledged qualified accountant, a husband and a father. He has financial working experience in various industries including telecommunications, cosmetics, banking and charity in both local and overseas companies.