Company bracing for new corporate liability law in June. Get yourself ready with the Anti-Bribery Management System Certification Scheme

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Since the time of our ancestors, bribery, corruption and fraud have always been present. Bribery not only harms an organisation’s reputation and image, but also diminishes the confidence and trust of both existing and potential partners.

Thus, it is the role and responsibility of business corporations to comply with anti-bribery laws that are equivalent to those of international standards.

Here in Malaysia, the Anti-Bribery Management System Certification Scheme (ABMS) is among the latest and most sought-after certification schemes offered by SIRIM QAS International to organisations. Malaysia's own anti-bribery standard MS ISO 37001 was established through a total adoption of ISO 37001.

This certification scheme is suitable for all types of organisations and industries — whether private or public, and from small and medium to large-scale organisations — that are facing high risks of corruption, said SIRIM Management System Certification Department Senior General Manager Haji Mohd Hamim Imam Mustain.

With this scheme, businesses are able to show compliance with Malaysia's anti-bribery standard MS ISO 37001, as the ABMS is a system or tool that prevents and manages corruption and bribery risks in order to achieve the desired objectives.

“In a nutshell, the ABMS sets out the requirements and provides guidance for the organisations in designing, implementing, maintaining and improving their anti-bribery management system, which helps them to prevent, detect and respond to bribery while adhering to the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission Act 2009 (Act 694) and other anti-corruption laws and regulations,” said Hamim.

In 2019, SIRIM QAS International was accredited by the Department of Standards Malaysia (DSM) and remains the only local certification body to be accredited by the department for ABMS.

“In order to further strengthen this certification scheme, SIRIM QAS International has also collaborated with stakeholders such as the enforcement body, Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC), the MACC Academy, Malaysian Institute of Integrity (INTEGRITI/IIM) and the Malaysian Certified Integrity Officer Association (ACeiO) in providing training to pioneer programme participants and auditors involved in this certification scheme,” said Hamim.

With Malaysia scoring 53 points in Transparency International’s 2019 Corruption Perception Index (CPI), versus 47 points in 2018 and 2017, SIRIM QAS International is hoping that the ABMS will contribute towards giving the country a better score and ranking in the years to come.


SIRIM QAS International certification globally recognised

As the corporate liability provisions will soon come into effect on June 1 under the Section 17A of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission Act 2009 (Amendment) 2018, organisations will be able to get the ISO 37001:2016 from SIRIM QAS International.

Being a member of International Certification Network IQNet, the world’s largest network of premier conformity assessment bodies, SIRIM QAS International’s certification is globally recognised.

“As a national certification body, SIRIM QAS International has a large pool of highly trained and experienced auditors who are qualified in accordance with the international standard requirements related to quality management systems,” said Hamim.

As at March 1, 2020, there were 46 organisations from various sectors including ministries, government departments, local authorities, government-linked companies and private companies that have obtained certification from SIRIM QAS International and more are seeking the same.

With independent certification according to ISO 37001 standard, organisations would be able to effectively reduce the risk of corruption and strengthen compliance with the related legal requirements.

“The certification would become the external influencer or driver for the organisation to always be on its toes in ensuring the anti-bribery management system is working well and able to ensure continuous compliance with the certification requirement,” said Hamim, adding that this third-party certification would enhance the organisation’s reputation and image by providing assurance of legal compliance, which in turn increases the confidence and trust among business associates.

There is no need to worry about compatibility as the ABMS can be easily integrated with other management systems within an organisation. This standard follows the common high-level structure (HLS), which is now required by all ISO published management system standards with 10 main clauses.

“Any organisation that would like to obtain an ABMS Certification must first develop an anti-bribery management system for its core activities,” said Hamim, adding that this includes preparation of the documentation as required by the ISO 37001 standard.

“Once the documentations are ready, organisations should implement the system across all levels before engaging the certification service provided by SIRIM QAS International,” Hamim added.

Involving two stages of audits, the certification process’ first stage is to assess whether the developed system complies with the standard requirements through document evaluation, and subsequently another audit will be conducted at the organisation’s premises to evaluate and determine the demonstration of compliance against the ISO 37001 (ABMS) requirements.

After obtaining the certification, the organisation is obliged to ensure continuous compliance with standards, certification and legal requirements.

“SIRIM QAS International will conduct a surveillance audit once a year or every 12 months,” said Hamim, adding that a re-certification will be implemented every three years before the expiry of the existing certification period.


FGV Holdings Bhd’s Highlight on ISO 37001: Anti-Bribery Management Systems (ABMS)


“In FGV, we were successfully certified with the ISO 37001:2016 Anti-Bribery Management Systems (ABMS) throughout the Group and its subsidiary companies in December 2019. I am proud to say FGV is the first plantation company in Malaysia to achieve this accomplishment. For a company striving for zero corruption, ABMS brings immeasurable benefits. It inculcates awareness across the organisation to the grassroots that corruption is never to be tolerated. Having ABMS also promotes trust and confidence in FGV’s stakeholders, including the shareholders and potential business partners.

(Datuk Haris Fadzilah Hassan, group CEO, FGV Holdings Bhd)


Top Glove Corporation Bhd’s highlight on ISO 37001: Anti-Bribery Management Systems (ABMS)


“Top Glove has embarked on a meaningful journey towards strengthening the company’s anti-bribery and anti-corruption initiatives since receiving our ISO 37001:2016 Anti-Bribery Management System certification in 2017. The certification, which focuses on anti-bribery initiatives within the Provision of Supply Chain in the Glove Manufacturing Business, has certainly helped build more systematic structures into our integrity control initiatives and subsequently helped our systems become more organised and efficient. To ensure that we remain sustainable and grow more efficiently going forward, we have also decided to extend and expand the ABMS to cover a broader scope within the organisation given its many advantages for the business, as well as to prepare Top Glove when Section 17A of the Corporate Liability Act (Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission Act 2009 (Amendment) 2018 comes into force in June 2020.”

(Tan Sri Dr Lim Wee Chai, executive chairman, Top Glove Corporation Bhd)