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Shamsul Nahar Abdullah ORCID logo


In the aftermath of the Asian Financial crisis in 1997/1998, the Malaysia Securities Commission (SC) issued the Malaysian Code on Corporate Governance in 2000 (MCCG 2000). It was subsequently revised in 2007 following the Enron and Transmile debacles. In 2012, the SC issued the latest MCCG 2012 which introduced several new recommendations that are in line with developments in other parts of the world. Hence, the purpose of this study is to investigate the influence of the structure of the board and its activities on firm performance post MCCG 2007. The study also aims to shed light on the effectiveness of the board of directors since the issuance of MCCG 2000 and of MCCG 2007. It also aims to reveal the preparedness of listed firms in Malaysia to embrace MCCG 2012. Using a population of non-finance listed firms for the 2009, 2010 and 2011 financial years, it was found that board independence, chief executive officer (CEO) duality, directors’ busyness, nomination committee independence, the establishment of a risk management committee (RMC) and board meetings are not associated with firm performance, i.e. Tobin’s q. However, the market appears to be in favour of a larger board size. As for return on assets (ROA), it is not associated with board independence, board size, directors’ busyness and nomination committee independence. On the other hand CEO duality and the establishment of a RMC improve ROA, while board meetings are detrimental to ROA. It can therefore be concluded that board independence is not associated with either Tobin’s q or ROA. Hence, any corporate governance reforms should not over-emphasize the representation of independent directors on the board, rather the focus might be shifted to board activities, such as board meetings and the establishment of a RMC. With regard to board size, since the market is in favour of a larger board size, firms should increase the board’s size to enable the appointment of women directors to the board. Finally, combining the CEO and board chairman roles should not be disallowed as the market views this favourably. Hence, the ‘one-hat approach’ does not appear to be applicable in the case of CEO duality.

Keywords: Board Independence, CEO Duality, Directors’ Business, Nomination Committee, Risk Management Committee

How to cite this paper: Abdullah, S. N. (2016). Corporate governance mechanisms and the performance of Malaysian listed firms. Corporate Ownership & Control, 14(1-2), 384-398.