Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Congratulations Khairul Anuar and Wan Adibah

All members of the Accounting Research Institute (ARI) congratulate our collegues Dr Khairul Anuar and Dr Wan Adibah who have recently successfully completed their PhD program in New Zealand. Khairul Anuar and Wan Adibah were respectively named the best student in their cohorts when they were undertaking their Master in Accountancy program at Universiti Teknologi MARA. Congratulations and well done...

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Investigative Techniques & Moot Court

One of the courses offered for the Master in Forensic Accounting and Financial Criminology program is Investigative Techniques. The course covers different techniques used by financial fraud investigators or forensic accountants. Basically students would select actual cases involving CBT, corruption, money politics, money laundering, tax evasion, terrorism financing, illegal deposit taking etc and "re-constitute" an investigation framework. The focus is to identify specific legal violation, evidence gathering, data collection, data analysis and report writing. The students would then present their cases in a moot court setting where judges, witnesses and lawyers may be present. Today, in an effort to further improve the content of the curriculum, we invited Tuan Awang from the AG Chambers to provide practical requirements so that students understand basic protocols of court proceedings.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

New Country Participants

The three-day APMAA Conference 2011 saw new country participation: Nigeria (Prof Samuel Gbadebo, University of Abuja), United Arab Emirates - UAE(Prof Sherine Farouk, University of Dubai), Iran, Thailand (Prof Supapon, University of Chulalongkorn) Singapore (Prof Nam, Singapore Management University) and Yemen. Thailand and Singapore were part of APMAA founding members but have not participated in the last four conferences.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Congratulations Eley Suzana and and Noor Sufiawati

Two of our PhD students: Ms Eley Suzana and Ms Noor Sufiawati jointly won the "Best paper" award for the recent PhD colloquium held in Universiti Teknologi MARA (UiTM). Ms Eley Suzana had also won the "Best Presenter" award. The results were announced during the APMAA Dinner held tonite at the Holiday Inn Hotel, Glenmarie. Congratulations to both of you....

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

PhD Research in Management Accounting

Ten PhD students presented selected portion of their research projects today in a one day PhD Colloquium held at the Universiti Teknologi MARA Shah Alam campus. For the colloquium, three discussants have been assigned to critically review the students' written works.
In a way, the students were able to get a fair comment from the reviewers as the papers have been submitted to them much earlier. Three of my own students: Eley Suzana (Title: Supply Chain Management from the Perspective of Management Accounting), Ibrahim Morshidi (Export Driven SME Business Performance and Their Contingent Fit with Owner's Leadership Characteristics) and Hussein (Target Costing Implementation Decisions and Organizational Capabilities). The PhD colloquium is a great platform for students to discuss their phd projects. They can discuss findings from literature review, research framework, theoretical underpinnings, industry analysis, research design, data analysis or research findings. For each of these sections, they can write journal papers which can ultimately add values to their own final theses....

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Thanks Councilor Ravi

Since today was our last council meeting for 2011, the CPA Australia (Malaysia Division)
councilors and management organised a farewell do for Mr Ravi Navaratnam who finishes his term at the end on this year. Ravi has been a Councilor for the past seven years and according to him, "he has enjoyed every minute of it". Thanks to you sir. I am sure he will continue to share and contribute his ideas to CPA Australia and the accounting profession...

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

AKNC 2011

I wish to congratulate all nine teams who made their presentations at the Final Round of the Annual Vice Chancellor Quality Award (AKNC 2011). The teams who represented the faculty category were namely the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering, Faculty of Civil Engineering and Faculty of Applied Sciences. Three units, namely Students Affairs, Infotech and the PTAR library represented the Division category. Meanwhile, three UiTM campuses from Perak, Pahang and Sarawak represented the State Campus category.
Each team had to present their best three strengths. Interestingly, there were a lot of innovations being showcased: Energy-efficient automobile, electronic databases, data management system, e-operation. In a nutshell, all teams have made very interesting and impressive presentations. Well done.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Benford's Law

BENFORD'S LAW is a statistical-based analytical application that can be used to detect irregularities. It provides a data analysis method that can help alert forensic accountants to possible errors, potential fraud, manipulative biases, costly processing inefficiencies or other irregularities. Putting it to work, here are some possible practical applications for Benford's law and digital analysis:
(i) Accounts payable data.
(ii) Estimations in the general ledger.
(iii) The relative size of inventory unit prices among locations.
(iv) Duplicate payments.
(v) Computer system conversion (old to new system; accounts receivable files).
(vi) Processing inefficiencies due to high quantity/low value transactions.
(vii) New combinations of selling prices.
(viii)Customer refunds

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Thanks Mr Ken

I wish to thank Mr Ken Pushpanathan, a senior partner in one of top accounting firms in Malaysia for inviting me to his Deepavali do recently. Mr Ken is a regular guest speaker to my Money Laundering and Financial Criminology Master in Forensic Accounting and Financial Criminology class. Very often, he would share his experiences as an auditor and how he discovers financial statement fraud during his audit jobs. His Deepavali do was a splendid 1Malaysia concept. Thanks again Ken and his wife Uma for your great hospitality...

Monday, October 24, 2011

AG Audit Report 2010

The Auditor General Report 2010 contains some very interesting findings. The following excerpts were taken from The Sun daily newspaper on the summary of the audit report:
"...The audit showed that last year, 17 ministries were ranked 'very good' in this category compared to just 10 in 2009, while government departments also showed encouraging progress, with 13 departments ranked 'very good' compared to only four the previous year. However, Auditor-General Tan Sri Ambrin Buang said the performance could be improved further if the head of departments or supervisors do not only take corrective action but also preventive measures to overcome weaknesses".
Sample financial shenanigans have also been highlighted by the AG Report 2010:
(1) Giatmara, a subsidary of Majlis Amanah Rakyat (MARA), bought equipment for its skills training programmes at grossly inflated prices;
(2) Nine ministries were found to have overspent RM3.73 billion of its operational allocation;
(3) 11 government-linked companies (GLCs) only paid dividends to the government in certain years despite making profits for three consecutive years;
(4) Deals worth millions of ringgit made by Tourism Promotion Board via direct negotiation, without approval of the Finance Ministry;
(5) More than half of the 143 Kemas kindergartens in Johor, Kelantan, Kedah and Sabah do not adhere to the menu prepared by the Rural and Regional Development Ministry;
(6) More than 130 of about 1000 health ministry staff quarters have been abandoned for up to 12 years;
(7) RM2.57 million pension paid out to about 2,000 dead pensioners.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Congratulations Two PhD Graduates

The Accounting Research Institute (ARI) congratulates two of our recent PhD graduates: (1) Dr Rose Shamsiah Binti Samsuddin "The Oversight Function of the Public Account Committee in Reporting the Audited Statements of the State Government". The PhD project was supervised by Associate Professor Dr Nafsiah Mohamed; (2) Dr Zaleha Binti Othman "Integration of Ethics in Malaysian Corporate Governance Practices". The project was jointly supervised by Prof Dr Rashidah Abdul rahman and Prof Alan Lovell. Congratulations all...

Saturday, October 22, 2011

New PhD Students at ARI

The Accounting Research Institute (ARI) and I wish to welcome new post graduate students who have just registered with us this semester. Post graduate research programs in Islamic Financial Criminology (IFC) are offered jointly by both ARI and the Faculty of Accountancy, Universiti Teknologi MARA. Effectively, research programs in IFC are divided into two main components namely (i) Islamic Accounting & Muamalat and (ii)Financial Criminology. Topics of interest in Islamic Accounting & Muamalat include Shariah Auditing, Islamic Financial Reporting, Zakat Investment, Islamic Unit Trust, Islamic Microfinancing etc. Meanwhile for financial criminology, topics of interest include Anti-Money Laundering & Counter Terrorism Financing in financial Institution, Cost Effectiveness of AML initiatives, AML/CFT in charity and non profit organizations and STR in money changing businesses. Financial assistance in the forms or research assistantship or graduate research assistantship are available at ARI.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Industry Lecture Series on AML/CFT

The Accounting Research Institute (ARI) and I wish to thank Mr Nor Khizam Sulaiman for accepting our invitation for him to give an industry lecture to our post graduate students. Mr Nor Khizam is currently Vice President/Head, Prudential and Governance Supervision at RHB Investment Bank. His responsibility includes performing compliance and supervisory function for capital markets and corporate regulatory requirement for investment banking business and operations. He is also the appointed Compliance Officer of AML/CFT for regulatory monitoring and reporting to regulatory bodies. In his lecture, Mr Nor Khizam shares his experiences in dealing and handing AML/CFT cases. We were told that in reality, the three stages of ML involving "placement", "layering" and "integration" are more complex as they include multiple transactions and multiple ML "players". In addition to the AML/CFT system available in financial institutions, "people skills" and "Ingenuity" are "must have" added characteristics of an effective AML/CFT officers.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Applied Research Presentations

For the September Semester 2011, twelve students registered for the Applied Research Course. The applied research projects mainly focus on financial criminology cases. With specific research issue or research problem at hand, our post graduate students conduct the applied research projects and find solutions to the problems. Some of cases explored this semester include topics such as "governance of money changers in mitigating money laundering and terrorism financing", "effectiveness of the whistle-blowing programs of a PLC", "Cost Effectiveness of AML/CFT Program in Financial Institutions", "Risk Management Analysis of AML/CFT Programs", "Evaluation of the Internal Audit Function in Preventing ML/TF" and "Fraud Risk Indicators for Tax Exasion". Throughout the semester, students present their progress during four scheduled meetings with me, who act as the supervisor for the projects. Today, the students presented their research instruments and they are preparing themselves for their field work and data collection. I foresee some very interesting findings from the research projects this semester....

Thank You and Good Bye

On behalf of the Accounting Research Institute (ARI), I wish to thank ARI's couple researcher Dr Rashid Ameer and Dr Radiah Othman who will be moving to New Zealand in November 2011. As research fellows at ARI, they have contributed significantly driving research and publications in the area of Islamic Financial Criminology. Dr Rashid was spearheading ARI's publication through the "C-Cure Publication" initiative. Meanwhile, Dr Radiah was head of ARI's "C-Cure PhD" initiative. Moving on, we hope to foster more international collaborations with universities and research centres in New Zealand through both of them...

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Industry Lecture on Enforcement of AML/CFT

The Accounting Research Institute (ARI) thanks Inspector Mohd Nor Firdaus, Investigating Officer (IO)from the AMLA unit of the Royal Malaysia Police (RMP) for delivering an industry lecture series to our Master in Forensic Accounting and Financial Criminology students. As an investigation officer, Mohd Nor shared his personal experiences in investigating money laundering and terrorism financing (ML/TF)cases. It was highlighted that one of the most challenging tasks in conducting ML/TF cases is the gathering of relevant evidences, which in most cases have to be obtained from multiple sources. RMP is enhancing its IO competency through training programs in forensic accounting and financial criminology by collaborating with professional agencies, research entities, regulatory bodies, reporting entities and universities. In fact ARI is one of those entities that have collaborated with RMP in developing training modules in Financial Criminology... from

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Money Laundering in NPOs

Today, the master students from the "Money Laundering and Financial Criminology" class presented their cases on money laundering which had involved non-profit organizations. A total of ten local and global cases were presented by the students. For each case, the students need to highlight and explain the three stages of money laundering: placement, layering and integration. Theoretically, the identification seems very straight forward. However, in actual money laundering cases the stages may not be observable, hence making investigation and data collection a challenging process.
Students are also required to assess the internal control system of the organisations involved in each money laundering case and to gauge the pepetrators's personality with suitable fraud theory. All in all, as a facilitator for the course, I am very happy with the students presentations. They have shown maturity and have used suitable analytical tools to assess and evaluate their cases.
Among the NPO cases selected include Baptist Foundation of Arizona, Holy Land Foundation, Benevolence International Foundation, United Charity in Australia and the Universal Church of the Kingdom of God. Congratulations all...

Monday, July 25, 2011

Intellectual Discourse

It was such an honour for Universiti Teknologi MARA (UiTM) when the Regent of Perak, Duli Yang Teramat Mulia Raja Dr Nazrin Shah Ibni Sultan Azlan Muhibuddib Shah agreed to deliver a royal speech titled The Role of the Malay Rulers in Nuturing National Integration". The intellectual discourse was organized by one of the university's Centres of Excellence - IMPAK. The event which was held at the Dewan Agong Tuanku Canselor (DATC) was attended by 5,000 participants, comprising students and staff of the University.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

ARI Training Programs

One of the main functions of the Accounting Research Institute (ARI)is to provide training programs and consultancy services in the following areas of expertise:
1) Forensic Accounting and Financial Criminology, 2) Financial Reporting, 3) Financial Statement Analysis, 4) Public Sector Accounting, 5) Accrual Accounting, 6) Accounting Information System, 7) Tax Planning, 8) Corporate & Enterprise Governance, 9) Islamic Accounting & Finance, 10) Shariah Auditing and 11) Intellectual Capital & Knowledge Management. Currently, ARI's operations are supported by researchers and professional experts from eight different research centres. The eight research centres are namely Asia-Pacific Forensic Accounting Research Centre (AFARe), Islamic Accounting & Muamalat Research Centre (IAMRC), Corporate Governance Research Centre (CGRC), Financial Reporting and Taxation Research Centre (FRRC), Asian Management Accounting Research Centre (AMARC), Asia-Pacific Centre of Sustainability (APCeS), Government-Linked Companies Research Centre (GLCRC) and Public Sector Accounting Research Centre (PSARC). Those interested with ARI training programs may contact ARI office at tel no: 603 5544 4925.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Thank You to the New Accountant General

I wish to thank and congratulate the new Accountant General of Malaysia, Datuk Wan Selamah Binti Wan Sulaiman for sharing her thoughts and experiences on the usefulness and relevance of forensic accounting in the government sector.
Her paper which was categorised under the track of "Accountability, Legal Framework and Islamic Perspective" made an interesting discussion point among the participants. One of initiatives to be undertaken by the Accountant General Office is to increase the number of forensic accounting courses for accountants.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Three Best Papers at ICFC 2011

The International Conference on Financial Criminology (ICFC 2011) was successfully organized and it ended this evening with some very encouraging words from participants. The program ended with the announcement of three prize winners for the "Best Paper" category. Dr Siti Khadijah Ab Manan and Mr Ahmad Saiful Azlin Puteh won the third prize for their paper "IWE Practices Among Employees of Banking Institutions in Malaysia: Preliminary Findings". In second placing was Ms Ezdiani Ilyana Mohd Dom with her paper titled "Factors Influencing Service Tax Evasion". The Best Paper award went to the article titled "Governance of Charity Organizations as Fraud Preventive Mechanism: Lesson From Singapore" by Dr Radiah Othman, Prof Normah Omar, Prof Rashidah Abd Rahman and Dr Norli Ali. Prof Rashidah made a very impressive presentation of the winning paper. Congratulations...

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Bundle of Joy

I wish to congratulate two of ARI members - Associate Professor Dr Norzaidi Daud and his wife Dr Intan Salwani (both are ARI fellows)with the recent "arrival" of their beautiful son Mohamad Darwish. ARI members share their happiness and wish them well and our continuous prayer that your family is blessed with love and happiness. Perhaps baby Darwish's first word will be "ISI". Dr Norzaidi and Dr Intan have been among ARI's most active researchers and they have been publishing a lot of papers in ISI & SCOPUS Journals. Congratulations...

Thursday, May 26, 2011

So You Want to Do Your PhD?

Congratulations all aspiring PhD scholars who attended my talk today on Writing PhD Research Proposal. Some seventy participants who attended the social-science group have been awarded the scholarship by their sponsors.
Participants came from diversed backgrounds ranging from music, arts and design, business management, accountancy and law. I was asked by the Institute of Leadership, Quality and Management (ILQaM) to share the "do's and do'nts" of a PhD proposal. Good luck everyone . PhD is like a marathon, it is not about who finishes the race first, rather it is about whether you finish the race at all?...

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Practioners are From Mars and Academics are from Venus?

I read with much interest an article that appeared in a recent issue of e-magezine On Target of The Institute of Certified Management Accountants. Titled "Practitioners are from Mars and Academics are from Venus?", the article by Dr Basil Tucker from the University of South Australia discusses why, as far as research findings are concerned, there remains a wide "Research-Practice Gap". Whilst academic research may have great contribution to the real world, researchers failed to transmit their research findings effectively to the practitioners. Amongst the reasons stipulated by the article include, where academics are being: "...elitist and pretentious use of their own jargon; discussing convoluted theory; using complex statistical techniques; being excessively concerned to demonstrate familiarity with the literature and including numerous bracketed references in the text". Some food for thought... are academics and practitioners speak different languages?

Thursday, April 28, 2011

ARI Tax Kiosk - A CSR Project

Every year the Accounting Research Institute organizes free consultancy service to the university.
Fondly known as ARI Tax Kiosk, researchers from the Taxation Special Interest Group get together to offer their advices. This year, the Inland Revenue Board (IRB) sends its officers to facilitate. Today is the second day of a two-day event. Though the deadline for income tax submission is just around the corner, we receive a lot of guests who happily participated in our event. Thanks all for your continuous support

Friday, April 22, 2011

Dr Philip Sinnadurai

ARI welcomes Dr Philip Sinnadurai, a lecturer from the Department of Accounting and Corporate Governance, Faculty of Business and Economics, Macquarie University, Australia, who is on a two-week academic visit at the Faculty of Accountancy and Accounting Research Institute (ARI). Dr Philip works closely with several academic members of the faculty and ARI. One of the main objectives of his visit is to complete an ongoing research project, which he collaborated with Associate Prof Dr Norashikin Ismail (ARI Associate member). Whilst here, Dr Philip help facilitates several young researchers and graduate students with their data analysis. As a director of ARI, my greatest appreciation goes to you Dr Philip Sinnadurai.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

MyRA Meeting

As a Director of ARI, I have been appointed as one of the panel members to continuously evaluate MyRA, the instrument used to evaluate the research capabilities of public and private universities in Malaysia. Premised on eight dimensions, MyRA is used by universities to self-assess their own research strength. As one of the panel members appointed by the Ministry of Higher Education, the committee recently met to evaluate comments, feedback and suggestions made by universities and researchers. The panels comprised of both professors who were (i) part of the original committee formed when the research university initiativees were launched in 2006 and (ii) newly appointed members who are knowledable and familiar with the MyRA instrument

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Young Researcher Scheme Program at ARI

Young researchers under the Young Researcher Scheme (YRS) will commence their graduate program at ARI in the forthcoming semester. The YRS program is especially created by the university to support its research agenda for selected centres of excellence in UiTM. As a HICoE, ARI has been allocated five YRS positions (Thank You) in the areas of Islamic Accounting & Muamalat and Financial Criminology. The candidates will be pursuing their graduate research programs (Master/PhD) at the Accounting Research Institute

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Research in AML/CFT

The following write ups were excerpts from the Accountants Today (August 2008)- a professional journal of the Malaysian Institute of Accountants (MIA). It is an important reminder for all accounting professionals.

Following the September 11 tragedy in the USA in 2001, a new law known as the Anti Money Laundering and Anti Terrorism Financing Act (AMLATFA 2001) was introduced in Malaysia. The Financial Action Task Force (FATF)research highlighted a trend in the use of complex commercial arrangements by money launderers and terrorism financiers to hide their money trail. These arrangements often use the services of professionals such as lawyers, accountants and company secretaries. Arising from this trend, the FATF standards require countries to improve their Anti-Money Laundering and Counter Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT)on Designated Non-Financial Businesses and Professions (DNFBPs) Sector. In Malaysia, the DNFBPs include casinos,real estate agents, dealers in precious metals and stones, lawyers, companies secretaries, accountants and other independent legal professions. All have been made reporting institutions. Reporting institutions shall report to the Financial Intelligent Unit (FIU) in Bank Negara, any transactions where the identity of the persons involved, the transaction itself or any other circumstances concerning that transactions give any officer or employee of that reporting institutions, reasons to suspect that the transactions involve proceeds of an unlawful activity. Research in this are is still limited and ARI is in the best position to lead research in this AML/CFT sector....

Tuesday, April 12, 2011


The second PECIPTA meeting was held today. Chaired by Prof Dr Azni Zain Ahmed, the Deputy Vice Chancellor (Academic & Internationalization), it was a full attendance by all committee members. The committee essentially decides and makes a proposal on assessment criteria for different categories of participation to the organising committee. Another national level meeting, attended by representatives from other Malaysian universities will be held to discuss our proposal. A new category, the Young Inventors Award particularly focuses on secondary school participants who will be competing and showcasing their new inventions and innovations. PECIPTA 2011 ensures originality of ideas by making sure that all competing products obtain their copyright certificates. There will also be a business matching session at PECIPTA 2011.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Master by Research at ARI

The Accounting Research Institute (ARI) is offering Master of Accountancy program in specialized areas of (i) Forensic Accounting & Financial Criminology and (ii)Islamic Accounting & Muamalat. This specialized Master by research is a two year program, but students with good research projects may apply to "transfer" and convert to a higher PhD program. Possible topics in Financial Criminology may include among others:(i) Anti-Money Laundering and Counter Terrorism Financing (AML/CFT) Initiatives by Banks; (ii) Development of Typologies and Indicators for ML/TF in Financial Institutions; (iii) New Methodologies in Detecting Financial and Economic Crime; (iv) Pinancial Fraud Prevention Mechanism; (v) Fraud Risk Indicators and many others.
Meanwhile, some researchable topics in Islamic Accounting & Muamalat may include:
(i) Islamic Microfinancing - A Supply Chain Perspectives; (ii) Shariah Audit and Islamic Accounting Framework; (iii) Sukuk; (iv) Islamic Capital Market and others.

ARI wishes to invite qualified and interested candidates to apply. Financial assistance in the form of Graduate Research Assistanship is available. For others who are keen to be an academic researcher at ARI, we are also offering the Young Researcher Scheme (YRS)option.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Two New Post-Doc Appointments at ARI

ARI wishes to congratulate two researchers who have been appointed as Post-Doctoral Scholars at the Accounting Research Institute. The first candidate is Dr Yaseen Al-Janadi, our former Phd student who has just recently graduated. Dr Yaseen commenced his post-doctoral program on 1st March 2011. The second candidate is Dr Kighir, A.E. from Nasrawa State University Keffi, Nigeria. Dr Kighir will start his appointment on 1st July 2011. One of the main tasks of post-doc scholars is to publish research articles in reputable journals that are indexed with SCOPUS and ISI Thomson. They are also to facilitate ARI in getting international collaboration and international research funding. As a director of ARI, I am confident that they will both produce their deliverables. Welcome aboard...

Sunday, March 27, 2011

ABS Invitation

I really felt honoured for being invited to speak at a recent seminar in Singapore. The Counter Financing Terrorism (CFT) seminar was being organized by the Consortium of Counter-Financing Terrorism group (CCFT) comprising the Association of Banks in Singapore (ABS), the International Center for Political Violence and Terrorism Research and the Nanyang Technological University (NTU) Singapore. I was asked to share global research findings on terrorism financing. My most valuable experience in Singapore was the ability to network with experts in this area. In our effort to become a research reference centre in areas related to financial criminology, it is vital that ARI networks with the world's best in this area. Thank you ABS for sponsoring my trip and my three-day stay in Singapore...

Saturday, March 26, 2011

AML-CFT Workshop in Malaysia

The CFT seminar in Singapore has been very successful. The Association of Banks in Singapore (ABS) as the main organiser of the seminar has been very instrumental in the success of the seminar. Every year, ABS would organize seminars for its members. Following yesterday's successful seminar, the forthcoming seminar on Financial Crime is already scheduled for 1st July 2011. What is more impressive is the ability of ABS to attract members to participate in its event. ARI hopes to be able to attract bankers in Malaysia to participate in our forthcoming workshop in May 2011. The inaugural CFT workshop is jointly organized by ARI and the CCFT - a consortium in which ARI is its newly invited member. In essence, the workhop will basically emulate the successful seminar in Singapore. Our hope is that our Malaysian bankers will be supportive of our initiative and will be as enthisiatic as their Singaporean counterparts....

Friday, March 25, 2011

Islamic Accounting & Muamalat Research Centre: A New Kid on the Block

The formation of the Islamic Accounting and Muamalat Research Centre (IAMRC)was to support ARI's research capability in Islamic Accounting, Islamic Finance and Shariah Audit.
Initially formed as an SIG in early 2010 and upgraded to a full blown research centre in March 2011, IAMRC is indeed a "new kid on the block". IAMRC is currently headed by Dr Nawal Kasim and assisted by Associate Profesor Dr Mohd Azam from CITU. Though new, IAMRC constitutes an important smart collaboration between ARI, Centre of Islamic Thought & Understanding (CITU)and other Islamic-based agencies in the country. Upon ARI HICoE being entrusted with a niche research area of Islamic Financial Criminology, I knew for a fact that ARI needed to quickly set up its research capability in Islamic Accounting and Finance. Our first "stop" for help was to discuss with CITU on possible research topics that the two entities can collaborate on. Then ARI researchers went on a full "tour" to visit and discuss with many officers and researchers of Islamic-based institutions and agencies in Malaysia. Included in our visits were: Baitulmal, Zakat Centres, IKIM, JAKIM, YAPeIM, ISRA, IBFIM, INCEIF, Bank Islam, SC-Islamic Compliant and several mosques. We have also invited several international scholars and researchers as visiting professors at ARI. As a result of those visits, ARI is currently pursuing several research projects funded by the ARI HICoE research fund. The year 2011 will see IAMRC going international with potential research collaborations with universities in Bahrain and the United Kingdom. ARI Deputy Director, Professor Dr Rashidah has initiated several "early-wins" collaborations with four universities in the UK. They are namely, Oxford Centre of Islamic Studies, University of Oxford; University of Dundee; University of Durham and University of Birmingham. IAMRC's journey towards internationalization will be further supported and expedited with the appointments of several international scholars and post doctoral students in the second half of 2011. As a director of ARI, I am confident that IAMRC has the potential of going international....

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

AFARe: InternationalizationThrough Smart Partnership

In comparison to our other research centres, the Asia-Pacific Forensic Accounting Research Centre (AFARe)is fairly new. Co-established with two international partners, The Association of Certified Fraud Examiners (ACFE - USA) and The Centre of Forensic Science (University of Teesside -UK)in 2008, AFARe's core activities include research, training & consultancy, yearly international conference, product innovation and publication. AFARe was also formed to support our premier post graduate programmes: Master in Forensic Accounting & Financial Criminology and PhD in Forensic Accounting. Though newly established three years ago, AFARe receives tremendous support from various national and international partners. At the national level, one of our earliest supporters was the Malaysian Anti Corruption Commission (MACC). Whilst still an SIG, researchers from the cluster conducted three cohorts of forensic accounting programs with MACC for the years 2003 to 2005. The 3-month program was to train MACC's senior officers. Upon completion of the program, MACC established its own forensic accounting unit. Our successful collaboration with MACC was later echoed by seven other government agencies namely the Inland Revenue Board, The Royal Malaysian Police, The Royal Malaysian Customs, The Auditor General Office, The Accountant General Office, the AG Chambers and the Central Bank of Malaysia, when they too organized some programs to train their senior officers in the area of forensic accounting. In fact I am proud to say that UiTM, through ARI and the Faculty of Accountancy has been responsible in the development and enhancement of human capacity in the areas of forensic accounting and financial criminology for the country. In addition to our training collaboration with various agencies, we have also successfully produced five cohorts of the Master in Forensic Accounting and Financial Criminology graduates. By June 2011, an association named Malaysian Association of Forensic Accounting Experts (MACFE) will be established by our graduates. To date, AFARe has been successful in organizing three international conferences in Financial Criminology (ICFC)for the years 2008, 2009 and 2010 respectively. A forthcoming ICFC is already scheduled in June 2011. At the national level, AFARe and ARI are in partnership with agencies such as MIA, MAREF, CCM, FIU, CONG and IBFIM. In term of international collaborations, our partners include the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners (ACFE, USA); The Association of Certified Anti-money laundering Specialists (ACAMS, USA); The Forensic Science Centre, University of Teeside UK; Association of Banks in Singapore (ABS) and the International Center for Political Violence and Terrorism Research, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore. Under the leadership of its current head, Professor Dr Rozainun Abd Aziz, more international collaborations will be forged within the next few years. AFARe aspires to go fully international by 2015....

Monday, March 21, 2011

AMARC: An Evolutionary Journey Towards Internationalization

The CIMA-UiTM Asian Management Accounting Research Centre (AMARC) is one of the earliest research centre formed by the university in 2002. In fact I was AMARC's founding head. When AMARC was first established, it was a synergistic collaboration between the Faculty of Accountancy and the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA). CIMA gave a seed funding amounting RM10,000 and the university matched that amount. With RM20,000, it was fairly comfortable for AMARC to kickstart its activities. AMARC and CIMA worked tirelessly to complete two collaborative research projects in the first year of AMARC establishement. Upon completion of our two projects (i) Management Accounting Practices in Malaysia and (ii)Job Profiles and Job Characteristics of Management Accountants in Malaysia, a lot of papers were published in professional journals, refereed journals and book chapters. Some other papers were presented at national and international conferences. Our first year activities caught the attention of CIMA president in the UK and I was invited to present what I consider the "landmark" paper at the first CIMA International Conference in Kuala Lumpur.
Meanwhile, in early 2003, AMARC was invited by Professor Akira Nishimura, from Kyushu University in Japan to participate in an international management accounting research which was sponsored by the Japanese Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS). Upon completion of our project, I was sponsored by JSPS to undertake another research project in Japan which focussed on Japanese Management Accounting in the Automobile Industry. For that project, I collaborated with four Japanese universities namely, Kyushu University, Kyushu Sangyo University, University of Konan and University of Tsukuba. The internationalization of AMARC was spearheaded by these collaborations. As AMARC founding members, Prof Ibrahim and I, were invited by Prof Akira Nishimura to form an international association called the Asia-Pacific Management Accounting Association (APMAA). The founding members of this newly formed association comprised ten international professors from Japan, Korea, China, Thailand, Singapore and Malaysia.

With some international reputations, Dean Professor Dr Ibrahim convinced the Malaysian Institute of Accountants (MIA), CIMA and NPC to work collaboratively with AMARC on a national benchmarking project called the National Award for Management Accounting (NAfMA). NAfMA was launched by CIMA president during CIMA's second international conference in 2004 and the first NAfMA competition began.

Today, both AMARC and APMAA work closely together to bring our two entities to much greater heights. Our focus now is not just limited to the Asian or Asia-Pacific regions. Under the leadership of Prof Datin Dr Suzana, AMARC will venture into more international research collaborations with professors from the USA, Australia, Africa, New Zealand, Canada and Europe. We have targeted to be fully international by the year 2015...

Friday, March 18, 2011

The Establishement of the Islamic Accounting and Muamalat Research Centre (IAMRC)

In support of its HICoE niche research in Islamic Financial Criminology, the formation a new research cluster in Islamic Accounting & Muamalat was presented and approved today at ARI's monthly meeting.
Formally known as IAMRC, the newly formed research cluster is headed by Dr Nawal Kassim, a research fellow at ARI. Dr Nawal received her PhD in Shariah Audit from the International Islamic University . Dr Nawal is assisted by Associate Professor Dr Mohd Azam who graduated from the University of London in Shariah Law. As a director of ARI, I am fully convinced that the two leaders and researchers will be able to lead IAMRC to greater heights.
To date, IAMRC has gathered more than twenty members from respective faculties and academic centres at the university. A total of twenty one research proposals have been approved. The group has also published thirteen concept papers in Islamic Accounting and Muamalat prior to the formation of IAMRC. Congratulations all

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Talk Show at TV9

I was invited to a Live Talk Show on TV9. Though it was a fairly "last minute" thing, I obliged firstly, because the topic is very close to my heart and secondly, the publicity through the national media will be great for ARI. The topic, "Women's Position as Decision Makers in Corporate Malaysia". The talk show program called "Hujah" picks up current issue or issues and invite the public to participate in the discussion. Basically, the topic was chosen in response to the latest Grant Thornton International Research findings which saw Malaysia being ranked fifth in the world as far as women's role in senior positions in the country is concerned. Despite being ranked fifth, and 39% of Malaysian women were said to be holding senior positions in government and the private sectors, one must view the findings carefully. Whilst Grant Thornton study focuses on small to large private-owned companies, it did not investigate the position of women in public-listed or government companies. Yes, may be it is true that more Malaysian women are involved in businesses. Our recent survey with the Minority Shareholders Watchdog Group on 900 public listed companies indicates that more than 60% of PLCs do not have a single woman on Board and only 3 percent of them has at least 1 woman independent director. Surprise? Not really. But the bigger issue here is whether wowen are indeed less capable than men?. Are they given equal opportunity to achieve the highest possible position as decision makers?. Personally, I think women are just as capable as men decision makers. At the same time, there's ample opportunity for women to go up the corporate ladder. My personal view is that, women at one point or another in their career, will have to make some very personal, yet important and difficult decisions. Some may require sacrifices such that they may need to "postpone" their personal career agenda over motherhood. However, once they overcome their own challenges, they can become great leaders. Never mind the "low statistics". After all, being great is not necessarily through board rooms alone. The opportunity is always there....

Monday, March 14, 2011

Malaysian Top Business School.....

Today I participated in a group discussion organized by the Ministry of Higher Education (MOHE)to redefine what is really expected when one is considered a "Top Business School" or TBS. Also invited in the discussions were Deans and members of Malaysian Business Schools, practitioners as well as appointed assessors for the TBS. At the national level, TBS is part of MOHE's Strategic Plans for Higher Institutions in Malaysia. As part of the Economic Transformation Plan (ETP) Agenda, a TBS is expected to produce the necessary human capital for the country. A TBS is also to produce the right talent to uphold Malaysia's aspiration to become a "high-income" nation by 2020. MOHE wants top business schools to be self-sustaining and to generate their own income. In today's meeting, participants were basically encouraged to give their views, to raise issues and to address challenges often faced by Malaysian Business Schools. Forthcoming meetings will address these issues and find solutions to overcome them.