By Datuk Kamal Khalid – Group Managing Director, Media Prima Berhad
Ethical Boardroom talks to Datuk Kamal Khalid, the company’s Group Managing Director, about a commitment to good governance
Ethical Boardroom: Corporate governance in Malaysia is constantly evolving; what is Media Prima doing to stay ahead of the curve?
Datuk Kamal Khalid: Media Prima is proactive in ensuring compliance to both statutory requirements and the Malaysian Code of Corporate Governance. We work closely with regulatory, enforcement and related NGOs (non-governmental organisations), such as the Minority Shareholders Watchdog Group to enable us to meet the governance standards expected by our stakeholders.
EB: How are environmental, social and governance practices being strategically integrated into Media Prima’s operations?
DKK: We are continuously encouraging our employees to practice good corporate governance while carrying out their duties through our training programmes. This is done through our structured employee development programmes and continuous staff engagement activities. Regular, planned audits and assessments are also conducted across the organisation.
“Media Prima has consistently been ranked among the best in Malaysia and the region for good corporate governance by the financial community”
EB: Diversity is one of the pillars on which long-term value creation is built; would you say that is the case at Media Prima?
DKK: As with any other organisation, we value diversity and its long-term benefits to the company. The Media Prima board’s composition is very diverse in respect of ethnic backgrounds, skills and age, which is extremely important and necessary in ensuring a high-performing board culture.
Having gender diversity at the board adds value. Media Prima is one of the companies that has achieved the 30 per cent women on the board target. Three out of nine of our board members are women. In addition, Media Prima has also started to focus on its subsidiary board’s diversity. Three of our six main operating subsidiaries are now chaired by women – our out-of-home advertising arm Big Tree Outdoor, our content creation arm Primeworks Studios and our digital company Media Prima Digital.
Fostering a culture of diversity and inclusion has played a key role in ensuring sustained success of our workforce. Valuing diversity refers to respecting and supporting the uniqueness of each individual. Diversity includes attributes, such as gender, age, ethnicity, language, cultural background, physical ability, religious beliefs and lifestyle choices. Media Prima is working hard to ensure a more balanced ratio of diversity in its Group.
EB: Media Prima has now been listed in the FTSE4Good Bursa Malaysia Index (F4GBM) for two and half years. Would you say this is a testament to your commitment to responsible business practices and good governance?
DKK: Media Prima has consistently been ranked among the best in Malaysia and the region for good corporate governance by the financial community. In 2016, we were ranked number one in Malaysia for Best Disclosure and Transparency and Corporate Social Responsibility in a governance poll conducted by regional financial publication Asiamoney.
The recognition received in 2016 polls, Ethical Boardroom and FTSE4Good validates the hard work and commitment of our board, management and employees. We remain committed to implementing and practising the very best standards of corporate governance and responsibility while addressing the needs of our business ecosystem through various social responsibility-based programmes.
EB: What does it mean to Media Prima to be recognised as a regional winner in your respective industry?
DKK: It is a great honour and privilege for Media Prima to be acknowledged by Ethical Boardroom. The company places great emphasis on ensuring governance, transparency and implementation of industry best practices while we continue delivering value to our shareholders. So it is wonderful to be recognised for our efforts.
Despite the increasingly challenging operating environment faced by the media industry as a result of digital disruptions, our company has continued to be forthright and transparent in our reporting. We want to be open in explaining the challenges we are currently facing and our strategic plans to address them moving forward.
About the Author:
Datuk Kamal Khalid joined in May 2009, after serving as the Head of the Communications Unit in the Prime Minister’s Office from 2003. Datuk Kamal has also worked in the financial services sector in Kuala Lumpur, gaining experience in banking and private equity financing. He also spent three and a half years at in the Policy and Development Division at the Kuala Lumpur Stock Exchange (now Bursa Malaysia). He also was an independent, non-executive director of Utusan Melayu (M) Berhad from 2004 to 2009.
Datuk Kamal received his secondary education at MRSM Muar, Johor and graduated with a Bachelor of Law (with Honours) Degree from the University of Nottingham, England in 1994. He was selected to become Malaysia’s Eisenhower Fellow in 2005.