Speech by
YBhg Tan Sri Zarinah Anwar,
Chairman of Securities Commission Malaysia
2010 SC Scholarship Awards Ceremony,
Tuesday, 13 July 2010

Yang Amat Berhormat Tan Sri Muhyiddin Mohd Yassin, Deputy Prime Minister
Parents, Scholars
Distinguished guests,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

I would like to extend a very warm welcome to Yang Amat Berhormat Tan Sri Muhyiddin Mohd Yassin, the Deputy Prime Minister, to the SC. It is a great honour to have you visit us Tan Sri, and for you to present our scholarship awards to the recipients for the year 2010.

I would also like to welcome our new scholars and their parents and other guests to the SC. This afternoon, we also have several current scholars who are back on their summer holidays and currently undergoing their internship in various departments across the SC.

This year marks the 15th year of the SC’s Scholarship Programme. We had a clear and simple objective when we started in 1996 and that is to attract bright students to pursue a career with us. Very early on, we recognised that to do our job as regulators effectively, we require not just clever people, but employees who have the right motivation, values, commitment and passion for public service. Our scholarship awards are therefore our investment in nurturing a pipeline of future regulators. Most of our scholars have been successfully brought on board to become valued executives and managers throughout our organisation. Many of them are with us here in this room.

Over the past 15 years, the SC has awarded scholarships to talented young Malaysians in various disciplines such as law, economics, finance, investment, accounting, Islamic finance and banking, to name a few. This year, we are pleased to award scholarships to 9 deserving individuals who came through a rigorous selection process from a total of close to 500 applications.

One of our scholars will be pursuing his law degree locally; four of the scholars will be heading to the UK to study law or economics; and another four will be studying for their A-Levels in Malaysia, before hopefully winning places in universities in the UK and Australia.

We have found less enthusiasm from students to pursue their studies locally; so this year we have set aside some funding to offer as bursaries for those already studying in local public and private universities and colleges in our continuing effort to identify, nurture and recruit top talent.

In the meantime I congratulate the winners of this year’s scholarship awards. You have all come through a very robust process of selection and overcame intense competition to win the SC scholarship. Our selection criteria includes many quantitative and qualitative measures assessed using internationally benchmarked tools and methodologies. Besides excellent academic achievements and participation in co-curricular activities, we assess for a range of measures including leadership qualities, analytical and communication skills; drive and determination; innovation and creativity; self-assurance and personal impact. The bar for entry is high. So you can justifiably take pride in your achievement.

Ladies and gentlemen,

Malaysia today stands on the threshold of change. Reforms required to unleash Malaysia’s growth potential and to transform the Malaysian economy from its current state into one that is high income, inclusive and sustainable have been articulated in the New Economic Model announced in March this year. These reforms envisage the stimulation of innovation, enhancement of productivity and the strengthening of Malaysia’s competitiveness to facilitate high levels of growth. But to do this, we need the brainpower, the talent, the strategic and creative abilities, the entrepreneurial skills and the leadership competencies that will enable us to deliver on our goals of transformation.

At the SC, we too start with a clear vision of the kind of institution we want to be. Over the years, we have found that having a compelling value proposition is key to attracting and retaining talent. The SC takes a strategic holistic approach to human capital development, with a clear framework encompassing attraction and recruitment, development and growth, reward and recognition, and motivation and retention. Our organisational design and processes provide individuals, teams and leaders accountabilities with a clear line of sight our business goals and objectives as encapsulated in our Capital Market Master Plan and our annual business plans.

We make clear the deliverables expected of individual employees, and assess performance and allocate rewards based on these, thus ensuring a clear focus on delivery of results and the achievement of our overall goals.

We place a premium on skills and competence and have therefore put in place a structured and robust system of learning and development to ensure that required skills are not only available, but continuously updated. But technical competence alone is not enough. Thus at the SC we strive to embed a culture of integrity, transparency, accountability and professionalism, and strive to align and measure our performance vis a vis our core values.

Ladies and gentlemen,

Effective regulation of the capital market is crucial; lack of confidence in markets can have economic repercussions when participants withdraw from them. Our human capital development system is therefore one that centres on this over-arching element – to ensure the integrity of the Malaysian capital market, centered on our mandate to protect the investor.

To our scholars, we expect you to internalise the core values of the SC, and to ensure that these values are reflected in your conduct, even as you are pursuing your studies. Each one of us at the SC, is governed by a code of ethics and standards of conduct. We have put in place transparent and robust processes and procedures in discharging our regulatory functions, and we fully adhere to the principles and best practices of corporate governance. Indeed our regulatory standards have been independently assessed by organizations such as the World Bank and IOSCO and found to be on par with international standards. We play a leadership role amongst fellow regulators especially those from the emerging markets, partly discharged through our capacity building programs for emerging market regulators, which we undertake via training, study visits and on the job attachments with us.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Developing our talent pool, and ensuring the availability of adequate skills and competence to enable us to discharge our responsibilities effectively require a vast amount of investment in time and effort on the part of many parties. This includes, very importantly, the support and commitment of parents. Thus it has been our practice in our scholarship program, to engage with parents from the start.

We have found that this joint investment of time and energy between us at the SC and parents has yielded positive results. In a way, our small number of scholars every year, has enabled us to provide the individual attention and care needed to nurture our scholars into the desired future employees of the SC.

Scholars, upon graduation, you will join other fresh graduates which we recruit as Graduate Management Executives or GMEs. The GMEs are rotated, over a period of two years, through key departments within the SC to gain exposure to different regulatory functions before assuming specific positions within the SC. This Programme has produced excellent results with graduates being recruited and trained in preparation for their role as first level executives within the SC. Since the programme started in October 2004, almost 150 graduates have been recruited. So you will become a member of a pool of young and talented professionals who will ultimately help shape the future development of the Malaysian capital market.

In conclusion, I would like to congratulate all the 9 scholarship holders once again. All of you are fully deserving of the award; and I hope you will in time, enjoy an exciting and fulfilling career at the SC.

To parents, congratulations to all of you as well. As parents, we have a crucial responsibility for nurturing, shaping and building the character of our children; moulding in them expected boundaries of behaviour as well as values and principles that will help them succeed in life. No doubt parents here today have done a good job in this regard.

To Yang Amat Berhomat Tan Sri, once again thank you for your presence. It has been great honour for us to provide you with a glimpse of what we do at the SC during our briefing to you earlier, and to have you here at our scholarship award. I am sure parents and scholars here this afternoon are just as pleased and excited by your presence.

Thank you very much.