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South East Asia

Quarterly updates from your Malaysia and South East Asia Council Members

International council members can communicate with members in their region through quarterly newsletters. Below you will find all the messages sent out during their current council terms.

Messages from Q1 2024

Dr Ernest Kan

Dear members,

Hope 2024 is off to a great start for you. As we reflect on recent engagements towards Q4 last year, I am delighted to share some highlights as follows:

At the 23rd AFA Conference in Bangkok, Thailand on November 26, 2023, I had the privilege of moderating a session on "Ethics & Governance," sponsored by ICAEW. Returning after two decades, in my role as ICAEW’s Council Member for Southeast Asia & Pacific, to participate in the 23rd edition of this bi-annual regional conference is truly remarkable. The conference, themed 'Future ASEAN Accountants | Building a Relevant and Reputable ASEAN Accountancy Profession,' delves into critical topics including Digital Transformation, Attractiveness of the Profession, and Ethics & Governance. During my panel session, we focused on fostering an ethical culture in business, anchored by ICAEW's acclaimed training film, 'All Too Familiar.' This film is designed to challenge mindsets and initiate discussions on the imperative need for greater professional scepticism when encountering potential money laundering risks. The session sparked insightful discussions on ethical considerations in contemporary business environments.

Following this, on 27 November, as part of my commitment to meet ICAEW members in the region, I had the privilege of meeting with our Thai members with the invitation by Elaine Hong, ICAEW Director, China & Southeast Asia, and ICAEW Head of Vietnam and Head of Indonesia as we share exciting developments within ICAEW and exchanging perspectives on the evolving professional landscape. On another occasion, I had the pleasure of engaging with our Singaporean members at both the Christmas gathering in 2023 and the Chinese New Year Member Luncheon on 22 February 2024. These occasions provided invaluable opportunities to strengthen bonds and celebrate the spirit of community with fellow members.

Looking ahead, I am eager to deepen our regional engagements further. I invite you to join us at the forthcoming ICAEW SEA Regional Members Townhall on 4 April, 2024. This event promises to be enriching, featuring a short keynote address on "World Economic Forum 2024 – Key Takeaways" by a distinguished speaker, the Dean of Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy at the National University of Singapore. Furthermore, this one-hour session will be considered as your CPD hours.

As we navigate the ever-evolving professional landscape, let us continue to learn, and grow together. I look forward to meeting as many of you as possible at upcoming events in 2024.

Messages from Q3 2023

Dr Ernest Kan

Dear Members,

At the last ICAEW SEA & Pacific Members Townhall in August, the areas being highlighted includes key events that took place in the last quarter across Singapore, Malaysia, Vietnam and Indonesia, from the Membership Milestone and Fellowship Recognition Events, young members engagement initiatives, regulatory update to high profile accounting conference. I also shared the institute’s plans in keeping up with trends impacting the accounting profession as well as talent shortage, climate change, and how AI like ChatGPT influence the way we work, to list a few.

We were delighted to have Shariq Barmaky, CEO of Deloitte Singapore and a member of ICAEW Singapore Advisory Board, leading the sharing session which gave a succinct insight to the new International Sustainability Standards Board (ISSB) covering background of the latest reporting requirements and why ISSB is important not only to the finance and accounting professionals but for the greater good of our environment. Our contact member based in Indonesia, John Slack was also invited to share his interesting career journey spanning diverse industries and countries, how he witnessed the growth of ICAEW membership in the country led by Conny Siahaan, Head of Indonesia and her team, grew our membership to about 150 members in Indonesia over the past three years. Your feedback had greatly helped us to shape our townhall session, and we will continue to feature current topic of interest in future Townhalls.

On another front, I was pleased to be part of the inaugural Chartered Accountants Worldwide (CAW) Connect event in August. Fellow members of the CAW community in Singapore came together at ISCA House, a great opportunity for members to expand their professional network over fine wine and light-hearted conversations amidst a casual environment. An enjoyable night indeed, demonstrating that accountants know how to have fun too! There will be more such networking events in the coming months, particularly when ICAEW’s Chief Executive and President visits Singapore and Malaysia, in September and November respectively. Looking forward to seeing you at these upcoming events.

Messages from Q2 2023

Dato' Mohammad Faiz Azmi

Dear fellow members,

Last month, we honoured the exceptional achievements of 56 top-scorers in the ICAEW exams in 2022 during the recent Celebrating Excellence 2023 ceremony.

I would like to recognise and thank my fellow senior members of ICAEW Malaysia, who each sponsored an ICAEW Malaysia Prize for the students with the best performing Advanced and Professional Level paper results. This support, from renowned business leaders giving back to the profession, bodes well for the growth of our future chartered accountants.

I would also like to acknowledge our Authorised Training Partners and our Partners in Learning without whom, moulding the next generation of ACA holders would not be possible.

Recently – together with Henning Diederichs, ICAEW’s Technical Manager from the Financial Reporting Faculty – we met to discuss public sector accounting practices with the Accountant General of Malaysia, and later with the MIA Public Sector Committee, where we shared insights and role of professional bodies in public sector financial reporting and explore areas of collaboration between ICAEW and MIA.

We also had the opportunity to present what ICAEW is currently working on with capacity building and sustainability, to IFAC and MIA at a roundtable event for the accountancy profession in ASEAN.

As an institution, ICAEW exists to promote, develop, and support our members throughout their careers as chartered accountants. We should all be mindful to utilise the global recognition, resources, networking and CPD opportunities that accompanies membership to its fullest.

As it is now the month of Muharram, I would like to wish all our Muslim members Happy Awal Muharram and to the rest, happy holidays. May you have safe journeys and let’s continue to support our members together.

Dr Ernest Kan

Dear Members,

As we enter into the second half of 2023, I am pleased to look back on the developments and initiatives from the last few months. Following the initiation of townhall sessions, first in August 2021, we have continued to do so.

I was delighted to meet you again on 4th April, where we welcomed members from the Pacific region – Japan and Korea, into our member community. There was a brief introduction of the contact members based in Brunei, Cambodia and Myanmar. I will be introducing the rest of the contact members from the other geographical locations at the next townhall, as a way of showcasing our member network in this region. I would like to encourage you to join one or more of the 34 ICAEW communities based on your area of interest and profession that you may find beneficial to your professional and personal development.

Your feedback from the last session has been tremendously helpful in shaping future townhalls. One of which is short knowledge sharing on subject matters that are relevant to the profession and the region. Therefore, at the August townhall we will be adding a sharing focused on the establishment of the International Sustainability Standards Board (ISSB), its local relevance by looking at the recent introduction of the first two standards, S1 and S2, the sustainability related disclosure aimed at helping organisations with environmental and social impact reporting.

From the recent ICAEW council meeting held in June, I’m glad to share some updates that include the newly elected President, Mark Rhys, who took up office and will serve a one-year term until June 2024, and the recent developments received from the Governance Implementation Group (GIG). Moving forward, there will be a new board composition and members will be kept informed when the new ICAEW governance structure is finalised.

Following the Council Meeting, an ICAEW Conference was held in July where GIG discussed the further refinement of its recommendations and will turn its focus next on the size and composition of the council, provide recommendations for the council’s consideration and approval. Two other major areas that were discussed include Future Professional Environment and Horizon Scanning. Council Members also discussed issues impacting the profession and our members from within UK and globally, and how to steer the ICAEW forward into the future.

I hope that you have found these updates to be informative and I look forward to meeting you at the virtual Townhall on 17 August and continue to engage more with you.

Messages from Q1 2023

Dato' Mohammad Faiz Azmi

Dear fellow members,

As some of you may know, the Council Member for the Malaysia position was put through an election process for the first time, in February this year. It was a contested election and I am pleased to inform you that I was confirmed in March as the incoming Council Member for Malaysia from June 2023 for a term of 4 years.

Reflecting on the experience, I would like to first thank the other candidate, Mr David Lim, for a well contested campaign. The other observation was that of the members in Malaysia eligible to vote, some 30% of you turned out to exercise your right to vote. This is amongst the highest turnout for any ICAEW election and I would like to thank all of you who participated. Finally, in my engagement with many of you as part of my campaign, a number of points were raised with me from a member’s perspective that I will try to address in my new term as Council Member.

As we are now coming to the end of Ramadan, and 1 Syawal is nearing, I would like to wish all our Muslim members Selamat Hari Raya, Eid Mubarak and Selamat Hari Lebaran. Safe journeys home and to the rest, happy holidays.  

Dr Ernest Kan

Dear Members,

Q4 2022 has been a busy and eventful quarter for us at the ICAEW. I had the pleasure of attending several activities during this period where our ICAEW Regional Director, Elaine Hong, was also present and I would like to share with you some of the highlights.

ICAEW’s collaboration film All Too Familiar – an educational drama film which focused on anti-money laundering (AML), was screened in Singapore in October. It's heartening to see not only so many members attending, but the fact that the accounting profession doing their part in contributing towards tackling this difficult subject of AML.

In November, I had the pleasure of meeting Minister Indranee Rajah (Minister in Prime Minister’s Office and Second Minister for Finance, and Leader of the House) with ICAEW Chief Executive, Michael Izza, to discuss developments to help enhance Singapore’s pro-business and trusted regulatory environment within our accountancy sector. I also officiated the CSEA Annual Dinner and Award Ceremony in Singapore, alongside Michael Izza and Guest of Honour, Minister Low Yen Ling. The event saw close to 200 corporate partners, academic, fellow members, ICAEW ACA students, and almost 90 new members in attendance.

We wrapped up the year with the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding with ISCA, with ICAEW President, Julia Penny, and ISCA President, Teo Ser Luck in attendance, to further strengthen our ties with ISCA and to better facilitate our collaborative efforts.

At the invitation of Kevin Foo, Chairman of the ICAEW Malaysia Member Society, I also attended the ICAEW Malaysia Annual Dinner for members in Kuala Lumpur, as well as the Senior Members Luncheon, where we had the pleasure of honouring members who have been with us for over 50 years.

In closing, I would like to thank all of you for your continued support for ICAEW, and I look forward to seeing more of you at our upcoming events.

Messages from Q3 2022

Dr Ernest Kan

Dear Members,

I was delighted to meet many of you virtually at the 15 July Townhall in which I shared about issues I learned from our June ICAEW Conference and matters that affect our future.  A lot has happened since in the South-East Asia region where collaborations and agreements were established with partners in learning, statutory boards and ministries, and accountancy bodies and federations. In this quarter, ICAEW will continue to engage members with events that fit the occasion as we anticipate not only our Institute Chief Executive but also our President visiting our region.

Launch of Training Film 'All Too Familiar'

ICAEW have been working with the UK Government and Parliament to raise awareness of ICAEW’s work and our members to tackle economic crime. The launch of the third training film titled “All Too Familiar” in London earlier this year signifies the institute’s commitment and efforts by bringing to the fore matters related to money laundering or other illegal activities potentially faced by companies. A similar launch will take place in Singapore as part of the Chartered Accountants Worldwide social event for the members of ICAEW, Institute of Singapore Chartered Accountants and Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand. During the in-person event, members from these three major professional bodies will get the opportunity to share knowledge, interact and build connections with one another.

Meeting members in South-East Asia

In the coming months, I will be travelling to different parts of the region such as Jakarta, Bangkok and Kuala Lumpur, and I hope to take this opportunity to meet with our members in person. I look forward to these meetings as we continue to maintain our ongoing engagement efforts with our members.

Messages from Q2 2022

Dr Ernest Kan

Dear Members,

In this quarter, I am pleased to highlight the following developments:

Launch of ICAEW Annual Report

ICAEW launched this year’s annual report on 21 April 2022. One outstanding achievement, as mentioned in Michael Izza’s foreword, was the record ACA student intake of 11,049. This marks a huge 18% increase on 2020, and 15% more than our previous global high in 2019. Looking ahead, ICAEW announced during 2021 that talks are underway with the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy (CIPFA), to explore the potential for working more closely together in the future. The vision driving the discussions is the creation of a single strong federated professional accountancy body with truly global reputation and reach. Please watch this space.

Some key events from across the region supporting the strategic pillars are:

  • Development of future accountancy professionals - The ICAEW Annual Report also mentioned the events in Indonesia where ICAEW hosted lectures for hundreds of accounting students at two leading universities, on the topics of safeguarding against cyber threats and how future professionals can mitigate climate change. We also held a joint career webinar in collaboration with Universitas Brawijaya, attended by close to 1,000 accounting university students from across Indonesian. We continued to host our annual work placement event in Malaysia, which saw 100 students meeting up with our top 15 employers to secure training agreements and internships. In Singapore, we hosted seven local Business Case Challenges at top universities and polytechnics with the support of members and Authorised Training Employers, attracting by more than 1,300 accounting and business students. The annual China and Southeast Asia Business Challenge that gathered the best from across five countries in the region.
  • Reputation and Influence: We are proud to be the only international professional body invited to join two National Advisory Committees set up by the Ministry of Education and Training in Vietnam. The committees will develop higher education programme standards for finance and accounting and develop the ASEAN Qualification Reference Framework’s referencing report of Vietnam. Additionally, in Vietnam, we signed an MoU with the Ministry of Finance to support capacity building and talent development of the accountancy profession in the country. A key objective of the MoU is for both parties to jointly map Vietnam’s training programme for the IFRS certification. Lastly, we renewed our agreement to collaborate with the Indonesian Institute of Certified Public Accountants (IICPA), to raise the standard of professionals In Indonesia.

ICAEW – ‘Accountancy Body of the Year’

The 19th PQ Magazine annual awards took place in early May 2022 in London, and saw ICAEW winning the Accountancy Body of the Year 2022 award. It is a testament to the institute’s amazing work in diversity, inclusion, sustainability and putting our key stakeholders at the heart of everything we do. It represents and recognises the achievements of everyone here at ICAEW and I would like to thank you all in helping us to achieve this award in 2022.’

ICAEW SEA Members’ Townhall

I was delighted to meet many of you at our last Townhall on 3 March 2022. In preparation for our next Townhall in July, I welcome your input/suggestions and in this respect please feel free to reach out to me.

Dato' Mohammad Faiz Azmi FCA

Up close with Tan Sri Dato’ Hanafiah Hussain

With an objective of driving ICAEW’s strategic pillar - ‘Building Back Trust in The Profession’, ICAEW Malaysia recently held a hybrid dialogue and interview session with Tan Sri Dato’ Hanafiah FCA, the first Malay Fellow of the ICAEW. He was fundamental in establishing the first Malaysian accounting firm, Hanafiah, Raslan & Mohamad (HRM), which later became Arthur Andersen, which then signed to merge and become Ernst & Young Malaysia in 2002.

During the session, which was attended by 50 members and dignitaries physically, and another 60 online, Tan Sri shared with ICAEW members on how he helped established government-link corporations including the Federal Land Development Authority (FELDA), the pilgrim fund Tabung Haji, and the Federal Agriculture Marketing Authority (FAMA) under the Ministry of Agriculture to promote Malaysian agro products within and beyond the country.

He also emphasised numerous times the importance to uphold a high sense of purpose, trust and integrity as chartered accountants – in line with ICAEW’s strategic foundation and theme – to all members and the small group of students that were present.

Appointment of Dato Gan Ah Tee as MICPA president

At the recent Malaysian Institute of Certified Public Accountants (MICPA) 64th AGM, Dato Gan Ah Tee FCA was elected as MICPA’s President. From someone who grew up speaking little English to Managing Partner of BDO Malaysia, Dato’ Gan Ah Tee exemplifies the get-up-and-go spirit that has shaped his rise in the professional accounting services arena.

Dato Gan was previously a council member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW) and a member of the Financial Reporting Foundation, a trustee body responsible for the oversight of the Malaysia Accounting Standard Board’s performance, financial and funding arrangements. He is currently a Council Member of the Malaysia Institute of Accountants (MIA) and a member of its Oversight Committee. He is also the Chairman of the Insolvency Practice Committee of both MICPA and MIA

Lunar New Year messages from Q1 2022

Dato' Mohammad Faiz Azmi FCA

"I would like to take this opportunity, as Council Member for Malaysia, to wish our Malaysian members celebrating the new lunar year of the Tiger, Gong Xi Fa Cai!!

With the widespread application of vaccines and a better understanding of the Covid-19 virus, we are cautiously optimistic that things will get progressively better and hopefully we have seen the end of repeated lockdowns. As an institute we continue to promote our points of view on the importance of dealing with Climate Change issues, better use of technology in our business and also on initiatives to better nurture and develop our profession.

Closer to home, we have heard members desire to understand better the value of membership and we will continue to communicate how we can better support our members locally and to develop new initiatives to enhance your skillsets. Our local ICAEW members in Malaysia group, led by Kevin Foo, has an ambitious programme of events and get togethers for 2022. I do hope to meet some of you at our events and hope that you have all registered on the LinkedIn ICAEW Malaysia group (link to https://www.linkedin.com/groups/13628138/) for details. Until then, I would like to wish you all again, a Happy New Year!"

Dr Ernest Kan FCA

"As we have ushered in 2022, ICAEW continues to its commitment in taking initiatives and advocating for sustainable business futures.

Your role as a chartered accountant is more vital than ever in helping businesses adapt and drive forward the change that is needed. Lead the movement and join the Race to Net Zero, or find out other ways to make an impact that matters via the ICAEW Sustainability Hub.

As your voice on ICAEW Council for South-East Asia, please feel free to connect directly with me to share your thoughts and feedback on how ICAEW can do better in your region and at the same time better support you. I’m looking forward to interact with you at the March members’ get together virtual event.

In the meantime, here’s wishing you a prosperous and healthy Lunar New Year!"

ICAEW council

Meet your ICAEW team

Malaysia and South East Asia also have a network of contact members, who are points of contact for members' enquiries on living and working in South East Asia.

Dr Ernest Kan
Dr Ernest Kan BA FCA ICAEW Council Member for South-East Asia (excluding Malaysia)

With over 30-years of professional experience, Ernest has vast expertise in assurance, financial advisory and consultancy, particularly in capital markets, including IPOs.

Elaine Hong
Elaine Hong FCA Regional Director, China & South-East Asia

Elaine is responsible for progressing ICAEW’s vision and strategic initiatives in the region to deliver member and student value.

Dato' Mohammad Faiz Azmi FCA
Dato' Mohammad Faiz Azmi FCA ICAEW Council Member for Malaysia

Faiz is the Executive Chairman of PwC Malaysia. He was the leader of PricewaterhouseCoopers Global Islamic Finance Team practice as well as being the Financial Services Leader and joint Head of Audit for Malaysia.