Najib: Diversity good for business and nation

Najib: Diversity good for business and nation
Malaysia's Prime Minister Najib Razak.

KUALA LUMPUR - All listed companies will be required to establish and disclose in their annual report their diversity policies to ensure better age, gender and ethnic repre sentation at the board and management levels.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak said diversity at work is good for business and good for the nation.

"I strongly believe diversity is Malaysia's source of strength, Malaysia's market differentiator," he said in bhis speech before a closed- door dialogue with the corporate sector organised by the Economic Planning Unit (EPU) and the Securities Commission Malaysia (SC) here yesterday.

Currently, listed companies are only required to disclose in the annual reports their gender diversity policies, par ticularly in the context of board selection.

Globally, companies that establish diversity policies have been able to attract and retain investment from a wider range of sources.

"Around the world, sovereign wealth and pension funds have spearheaded the sustainability agenda by choosing more and more to invest in sustainable companies and instruments as these investments not only expand the di versity but also provide financial as well as social returns," Najib said.

"(If) well managed, diversity drives performance and strengthens governance. Hence, like sustainability, diversity at work is good for business and good for the nation," he added.

The closed-door event was attended by 50 corporate leaders representing the country's leading public listed companies (PLCs) and government-linked investment com panies (GLICs).

Citing TalentCorp-PwC's Diversity in the Workplace Survey (2013) released yesterday, the Prime Minister said Malaysia had made good progress in achieving the overall diversity of the workforce, but greater efforts were needed at the leadership and top management levels.

Najib said Malaysia's female labour force participation rate had increased from 49.5 per cent to 52.4 per cent for 2013, putting the country very much on track to achieve the target of 55 per cent by 2015.

Although female participation in the workforce has risen, women representation in top management is still lacking.

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