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The Star – SIRIM to accelerate ABMS uptake in Malaysia

SIRIM QAS International is the only certification body to be accredited for the ISO 37001:2016 Anti-Bribery Management Systems by the Department of Standards Malaysia.

THERE can be no compromise on corruption. This is the message Chief Secretary to the Government Tan Sri Mohd Zuki Ali sent out to the civil service in April this year.

Corruption has the far-reaching potential to bring about deterioration in the highest levels of government and cause nations to fall.

According to a World Bank report, countries with a high level of corruption have one-third the average income, three times the infant mortality rate and 25% literacy lower than countries with lower levels of corruption.

In line with the National Anti-Corruption Plan (NACP) 2019-2023, all government ministries shall obtain the Anti-Bribery Management Systems (ABMS) certification from SIRIM QAS International.

The ISO 37001:2016 Anti-Bribery Management Systems (ABMS) certification is set to elevate Malaysia’s anti-corruption efforts, in line with the National Anti-Corruption Plan (NACP) 2019-2023.

Fighting Corruption in the Public Sector

According to the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC), 2, 607 civil servants were arrested for corruption from 2015 to October 2020.

Meanwhile, the 2018 Transparency International Malaysia (TIM) estimated that corruption cost Malaysia 4% of its GDP every year since 2013 – about RM212.3bil lost because of graft over five years.

Another point of concern is Malaysia’s drop in rankings – from 51 in 2019 to 56 in 2020 – in the Transparency International Corruption Perception Index (TI-CPI). Given that Malaysia climbed 10 steps from 61 in 2018 to 51 in 2019, the drop needs to be redressed.

The private sector’s roles and responsibilities

Private sector corruption also has serious consequences.

For instance, corruption in public sector procurement often involves offering gratification to civil servants for a favourable decision. Therefore, the contracted company may not be the best in terms of service and/or price.

KPMG’s 2013 Fraud, Bribery and Corruption Survey indicated 90% of respondents in Malaysia said bribery and corruption were the biggest problem for businesses.

In 2020, the Corporate Liability provision under Section 17A of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) Amendment Act 2018 came into force.

This provision requires organisations to proactively prevent corruption in their processes by making directors and managers liable to prosecution for acts of corruption committed on behalf of the company, whether officially or unofficially.

No longer is ignorance a viable defence, as the provision requires directors and managers to not only prove they are unaware of the corrupt act, but had taken all due diligence to ensure it does not occur.

ISO 37001:2016 Anti-Bribery Management Systems (ABMS)

The ISO 37001:2016 Anti-Bribery Management Systems (ABMS) enables organisations to equip themselves with the necessary tools and knowledge to identify, prevent and respond to bribery risks.

Being certified by the ABMS enables organisations to demonstrate their commitment to inculcate a culture of transparency and integrity, which will further enhance trust and confidence in them.

For private sector organisations, ABMS will strengthen their internal processes to safeguard against violations of the Corporate Liability provision.

As for the public sector, it will safeguard important processes, plug leakages and wastages of public money and help build public trust.

Being certified with ISO 37001:2016 Anti-Bribery Management Systems (ABMS) enables organisations to identify, prevent and respond to bribery risks.

SIRIM QAS International – a trusted partner

A wholly-owned subsidiary of SIRIM Berhad and Malaysia’s leading testing, inspection and certification (TIC) body, SIRIM QAS is ready to help organisations demonstrate their commitment to the fight against corruption.

SIRIM QAS International organised the Breaking the Chain of Corruption through ABMS for Economic Sustainability Forum in collaboration with the Malaysian Institute of Integrity (IIM) on 13 Aug 2020.

SIRIM QAS is the first and only certification body (CB) accredited for the MS ISO 37001:2016 Anti-Bribery Management Systems (ABMS) by the Department of Standards Malaysia (DSM).

As the national CB, SIRIM QAS has over 30 years of experience in providing conformity assessment services to Malaysian and foreign organisations, and boasts a highly experienced talent pool of auditors.

Accreditation from DSM further enhances the credibility of its certifications.

Since 2017, SIRIM QAS has served 37 ministries and government agencies to receive certification. Given that there are over 700 ministries and agencies, the number of current organisations certified with ABMS is worryingly low.

Part of the reason could be a lack of understanding about the certification process and implementation.

With the recent announcement by the Chief Secretary, ministries and agencies should ramp up efforts to get ABMS certified.

Organisations may seek assistance in preparing their processes to be ABMS-ready from a professional training service provider such as SIRIM STS – a leading training provider for many types of certification including the ABMS.