Say No To Hudud

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Questions for Dato' Seri Nazir Tun Razak to answer.

CIMB Group has had a presence in Singapore since 2005.........The Group has built strong credibility through its investment banking and capital markets-related offerings. In 2008, CIMB Securities (Singapore) was ranked as No. 1 Mergers & Acquisitions (M&A) advisor by value and number of deals in the Mid Market segment, as well as No. 1 M&A advisor in Asia (ex-Japan) by number of deals.~ CIMB website

What Dato' Seri Nazir and his team have achieved in Singapore is something that all Malaysians can take pride in. To be able to capture the top rank in any area related to finance and investments in one of the largest financial capitals of the world, and that too in the space of just a few years, is a feat that deserves admiration and applause.

But, there is at least one question that must be put to Dato Seri Nazir and his team.

Can Dato' Seri Nazir let CIMB Singapore emulate what CIMB Malaysia does?
CIMB Securities was ranked by Thomson Financial as the No.1 advisor for M&A's in 2008.

In that same year, CIMB in Malaysia paid RM 3.393 million in fees to PricewaterhouseCoopers Malaysia for  Non-Audit Services, and a further 4.644 million Ringgit to member firms of PwC International for the same, while the fees paid for the statutory audit to PwC was only RM 2.84 million and 3.04 million Ringgit respectively.

That would not have been allowed in Singapore now, would it?

Would CIMB Singapore have been in the running for any award or recognition if the fees paid to PwC for Non Audit Services had been like what they paid in Malaysia for 2008?

Will CIMB in Singapore, or any of its divisions been able to achieve any accolades if it had been found to use the services of an auditor like PwC in Malaysia, whose very registration under the oversight board is an enigma that remains unanswered to this day?

But why then does CIMB Malaysia allow all this? Does the fact that Malaysia is separated from Singapore by that trickle of a strait, mean that we can get away with standards which are miles below what is allowed in that Island Nation that was once a part of this country?

Should not the elder brother lead by example? So why then is Singapore, a nation that is younger that ours, leaving us behind in something as fundamental as corporate governance standards?

But for an entity like CIMB, which has a presence on both sides of the Tebrau Strait, to employ widely differing standards in something as important as auditor independence, just because the rules on the southern side of the Straits are closer to the norm amongst developed nations, is an affront to the aspirations of Malaysia to become a developed nation in less than a decade.

DADS? Seriously?

If CIMB can adhere by the stricter rules of governance in the hugely competitive financial capital that is Singapore, why then does it not want to raise the standards in the land of its birth, and show the financial and auditing industry in Malaysia, that we can be as exacting and uncompromising in our business conduct, as the best in the world?

Why does CIMB expect Malaysians to accept lower standards of governance as a fact of life? Will we be called a first world country in less than 9 years, if our best institutions, like CIMB, which has shown the ability to rumble with the best out there, does not try to show the way for the rest of us here?

While we wait for Chin Kwai Fatt to make a report against this blog with the MCMC or the Malaysian Police, can CIMB lead the charge to higher standards that this country desperately needs?

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