Being a market leader in the property development industry, we at Mah Sing take pride in upholding integrity and honesty while striving for sustainability and longevity. Our commitment in maintaining high standards of business ethics and corporate governance in accordance with the laws and regulations is vital in maintaining our group reputation as a whole.
This continued success is mainly driven by the trust and confidence of our customers across the country, while governed by our valued business associates and employees at Mah Sing.
Enacting new policies and revisiting existing ones
In view of the recent COVID-19 outbreak in the country, there are many things that we look out for, especially implications due to the outbreak. Well, here are some of our points of focus:
- Corrupt behaviours during these tough times to sustain business growth – highly likely to occur when negotiating new contracts with existing suppliers that are trying to survive through the current crisis.
- Standard controls – relaxation of standard controls is possible and exemptions may occur, which then leads to fast-tracked payment approvals and due diligence practices.
- Third-party agents – this is a high-risk group of people and would require attention.
- Charitable donations – various organisations are making contributions to those affected by the pandemic, and normally they are charities and government bodies. Transactions are fast-tracked and hence, there may be a reduced or absence of fiduciary checks.
This year, as part of our effort to combat these fraudulent activities, our Integrity and Compliance team has worked closely with Ernst & Young (EY) in enacting the Anti-Bribery and Anti-Corruption (ABAC) policy, as well as the Whistleblowing policy. In conjunction with this, we have also created a Whistleblowing Manual which sets out internal guidelines on how we manage complaints and reports sent to our whistleblowing channel.
So, what are “corrupted offerings” or “gratification”? Well, we could go on forever with the list but here are some general ones we have stated in our ABAC policy:
- Gifts (in cash or in kind)
The COVID-19 crisis has posed high levels of vulnerabilities and heightened the risk of data breaches, and hence additional due diligence is required. It’s becoming an everyday occurrence to see news related to data breaches nowadays, and many organisations are faced with the challenge of protecting sensitive data, especially data associated with their customers.
Privacy can mean very different things to different people, and in different contexts and cultures. It is therefore crucial for us to set out definitions and clear guidelines on how the data can be shared while maintaining its security and confidentiality, and share-ability. Data protection is aimed at ensuring an individual’s right to privacy and safeguarding important information from corruption or compromise. A large part of data protection also involves quick restoration of data after corruption or loss. In response to the growing concerns of data breaches, Mah Sing has adopted a Personal Data Privacy Act (PDPA) policy and this policy has been revisited, updated accordingly and approved by the Board this year.
Staff Trainings & Awareness
Creating policies without providing any form of awareness just won’t cut it nowadays. Employees may not even be aware of the newly created or updated policies. Internal communication and trainings are essential to ensure employees are fully educated on essential baseline information on the company’s anti-bribery and anti-corruption commitment while also raising awareness and understanding of these policies. This year, we had our ABAC and PDPA trainings conducted virtually as we adapt to the new norm since COVID-19 affected our country.
We’ve been talking about creating policies and communicating that message across employees, but extra steps must be taken to deliver such information to third parties as well. That’s a no brainer isn’t it? The intentions are to reassure the existing and prospective third parties, and to deter those that intend to engage in corrupt practices. We have made it compulsory to sign a undertaking to execute Code of Conduct (COC) and ABAC policy during tenders for all exercises.
There is also a directive from the Legal department to incorporate compliance with our ABAC Policy in all contracts with third parties, and these associated people would be required to agree and execute our ABAC policy. All candidates seeking an employment with Mah Sing are also required to disclose any past involvement in bribery/corruption matters and to disclose conflict of interest if they are employed.
We hope that the information above help shed some light on how we deal with Corruption, Privacy and Data-Security related matters at Mah Sing. It is truly part of our commitment to our customers, employees and business partners.