Malaysia to require firms to have female directors

By Reuters   October 29, 2021 | 06:25 pm PT
Malaysia to require firms to have female directors
Women cross a bridge in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, February 19, 2020. Photo by Reuters/Lim Huey Teng
Companies listed in Malaysia will be required to have at least one female director on their boards starting next year, the government said Friday, a rare policy for an Asian country.

About 250 companies, around a quarter of those listed on the Malaysian stock exchange, still don't have women on their boards, Finance Minister Tengku Zafrul Abdul Aziz said.

The new policy was aimed at "recognizing the role of women in the decision-making process and strengthening leadership as well the effectiveness of (boards)," he told parliament, as he unveiled next year's budget.

"The contribution of women in the economy has never been denied but needs to be strengthened."

It will take effect in September for large companies, and in June 2023 for others that are listed.

Gender quotas on corporate boards have become common in the West, and countries including Norway, Spain and Italy introduced laws aimed at boosting female representation.

But they are still rare in Asia. India is another country in the region that has introduced a quota, requiring at least one female director on the board of listed firms.

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