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TITLE: Opening Address by Dr Veerinderjeet Singh, President, Malaysian Institute of Accountants at the The MIA International Accountants Conference 2021, Theme: Navigating a Sustainable Future with Agility and Resilience

DATE: 08/06/2021

OPENING ADDRESS BY

DR VEERINDERJEET SINGH

PRESIDENT

MALAYSIAN INSTITUTE OF ACCOUNTANTS

AT

THE MIA INTERNATIONAL ACCOUNTANTS CONFERENCE 2021

"NAVIGATING A SUSTAINABLE FUTURE WITH AGILITY AND RESILIENCE""

8 June 2021

  • Yang Berhormat Senator Tengku Datuk Seri Utama Zafrul Tengku Abdul Aziz, Minister of Finance Malaysia
  • Dr Nurmazilah Dato’ Mahzan, Chief Executive Officer, Malaysian Institute of Accountants
  • Distinguished speakers
  • Members of the Media
  • Ladies and Gentlemen
  1. Good morning and welcome to the Malaysian International Accountants Conference 2021 with the theme of Navigating a Sustainable Future with Agility and Resilience.
  2. Indeed, this is a theme that resonates in the current landscape, where the pandemic’s global impact as well as risks such as environmental degradation, extreme weather, climate change, poverty and wealth inequality, the educational and digital divide, call into question the sustainability of our future. While we remain optimistic about an economic rebound this year, the current surge in cases, the shortage of vaccines and vaccine inequity could impair our physical and economic wellbeing.
  3. While the pandemic rages on, business and the profession are also affected. It is therefore critical that MIA helps to strengthen the profession, ensuring that accountants are relevant, agile, resilient, competent and able to support their clients, organisations and stakeholders. The following are among the key steps pursued by MIA over the past few years towards strengthening the profession for the benefit of business, the economy, the nation and the public interest.
  4. One, we will continue to work towards the reform of the Accountants Act 1967. A new and stronger Act that is suitable for the post-pandemic environment will enable MIA as the national accountancy regulator to regulate and develop the profession more effectively. We will also continue to strengthen our development efforts in order to future-proof accountants and the profession, which in turn supports the contribution of accountants to business, the economy and nation building.
  5. Two, throughout the pandemic crisis, MIA has actively initiated COVID-19 support and advocacy with the Government and regulators on behalf of members and the profession. MIA also provided various COVID-19 resources such as the PLC Professional Liquidity Scheme to support members’ business continuity and a dedicated COVID-19 webpage with numerous COVID-19 related guidance and articles, along with COVID-19 statements and communications. We also held numerous webinars and online events related to managing the impact of the pandemic and businss continuity issues as part of our continuing professional development services for members, in addition to launching resources such as the illustrative MPERs e-book and the eBank Confirmation platform that supported the profession’s remote work processes – and hence its continuity - even during the mandated lockdowns.
  6. Three, in alignment with national aspirations, MIA will be placing increased emphasis on digital transformation of the profession so that accountants will be able to support and serve competently in a digital economy. The recent launch of MyDigital - Malaysian Digital Economy Blueprint by the Prime Minister in February 2021 is intended to fast-track the nation’s digital transformation. For clarity, MIA released a statement on MyDigital and its impact on accountants and the profession, which can be referred to at MIA’s knowledge gateway.
  7. Ladies and gentlemen, throughout the next three days, over a hundred esteemed speakers will be covering the issues of climate change, digital transformation, ESG, along with the developments and issues of concern that affect business continuity and business sustainability.
  8. Earlier, Dr. Nurmazilah mentioned the need to position accountants as leaders in climate sustainability and digital transformation. For my part, I would like to emphasise on the importance of accountants taking the lead in good corporate governance, to ensure the integrity, trustworthiness and good reputation of businesses and the nation.
  9. One key area of governance that is vital to support the nation’s future sustainability is tax transparency, tax administration reforms and tax governance, and the Conference will emphasise this topic in a few sessions. Dr. Nurmazilah spoke earlier on the importance of integrating ESG into business and corporate reporting to meet market and investor demand. MIA’s stance is that tax transparency is also a key factor to be considered under the Governance aspect of ESG. Importantly, stronger tax governance and compliance is vital in order to improve tax collections, which are needed to finance the nation’s proposed stimulus, digital transformation, talent upskilling and sustainable development programmes.
  10. By virtue of their expertise and competencies, accountants should also be taking the lead in fighting corruption, fraud and other leakages that threaten the development of the nation. In everything that we do, especially in public practice and the public sector, the profession must always uphold our code of ethics and our core values of accountability, integrity and trust in the public interest.
  11. Shortly, we will be listening to the Keynote Address from our guest of honour YANG BERHORMAT SENATOR TENGKU DATUK SERI UTAMA ZAFRUL TENGKU ABDUL AZIZ, MINISTER OF FINANCE MALAYSIA, who will give us insights into the direction of the Malaysian economy going forward. In line with the theme, I am sure Tengku Zafrul will also share the specific areas in which accountants and the profession can help to contribute to nation building, in particular by utilising our unique competencies in business advisory, business continuity and business sustainability.
  12. Ladies and gentlemen, sustainability cannot be a stand-alone initiative. Just as we need collective action and shared responsibility to break the COVID-19 chain of infection, implementing a shared vision of sustainability is easier done through consensus and strategic collaboration.
  13. As such, MIA actively collaborates and engages with our stakeholders and partners to gain buy-in and support for our advocacy and initiatives. Today’s Conference is an important platform for collaboration and engagement between the profession, organisations, regulators, government, academia, professional bodies and standard-setters, among others, to drive the sustainability agenda. MIA as the regulator, developer and voice of the profession will continue to articulate and advocate for those interests that are aligned with sustainable nation building and the public interest. We hope that we can count on your support and collaboration to drive the sustainability agenda.
  14. It is MIA’s hope that this Conference will enable us to reinvent ourselves to become a profession that is more agile, resilient, and relevant in all circumstances, good or bad. Importantly, it is our intention that the knowledge shared can be utilised to support long-term business continuity and the nation’s sustainability, all the while upholding the public interest.
  15. Do enjoy the conference. Thank you.