11.vol 0003www.iiste.org call for paper no 2 pp 160-179
Issues in Social and Environmental AccountingVol. 3, No. 2 Dec 2009/Jan 2010Pp 160-179 Sustainability Disclosure among Malaysian Shari’ah-Compliant listed Companies: Web Reporting Rapiah Mohammed College of Business Universiti Utara Malaysia Kasumalinda Alwi Faculty of Economics and Muamalat Universiti Sains Islam Malaysia Che Zuriana Muhammad Jamil College of Business Universiti Utara MalaysiaAbstractThis paper advances previous research of sustainability disclosure by focusing on informationdisclosed in the companies’ web site rather than through annual reports. Despite looking at thelisted companies in general, this study attempts to consider the practice of disclosing sustain-ability information in the Malaysian Shari’ah-Compliant listed companies, which represented87% of the total listed securities or 64.3% of the market capitalization on Bursa Malaysia website. This study used Islamicity Disclosure Index consists of Shari’ah Compliance Indicator,Corporate Governance Index and Social/Environmental Index, and the data is analysed using acontent analysis. The results of the study suggest that the sustainability disclosure by MalaysianShari’ah-compliant listed companies fall significantly on corporate governance index themes,followed by social/environmental index themes. However, Malaysian Shari’ah-compliant listedcompanies did not clearly disclose the items under Shari’ah compliance index. Contrary to ourexpectation, most of the companies disclose the items measured in the annual reports linked tothe companies’ web site and are thus not fully in the web site.Keywords: Sustainability disclosure; corporate social responsibility; internet reporting;shari’ah-compliant listed companiesRapiah Mohamed (CMA) is a Senior Lecturer at UUM College of Business (Accountancy), Universiti Utara Malaysia.Kasumalinda Alwi (CMA) is a Senior Lecturer at Faculty of Economics and Muamalat, Universiti Sains Islam Malay-sia. E-mail: email@example.com. Che Zuriana Muhammad Jamil (Phd, CMA) is a Senior Lecturer at UUM Collegeof Business (Accountancy), Universiti Utara Malaysia. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
161 R. Mohammed et. al. / Issues in Social and Environmental Accounting 2 (2009/2010) 160-179Introduction ‘corporate social responsibility’, ‘corporate citizenship’ andThe corporate environment is changing ‘environmental, health and safety’. Ac-more rapidly than ever before, competi- cording to Aras & Crowther (2008) thetive pressures are increasing and stake- term sustainability is a controversialholders i.e. shareholders, investors, gov- topic because it means different things toernment and regulators demand more different people. Similarly, Marrewjickinformation from organisation not only & Werre, (2003) view that there is noon the financial aspects but also on non specific definition of corporate sustain-financial issues like corporate social re- ability and each organisation needs tosponsibility. In order to remain competi- devise its own definition to suit its pur-tive in the new environment, organisa- pose and objectives. However, theytion needs to include social, environ- agree that corporate sustainability andmental, corporate governance and stake- corporate social responsibility are syn-holders’ concern into corporate strategy. onymous and based upon voluntarilyTechnology is enabling an organisation activity which includes environmentalto communicate information to its stake- and social concerns. Recently, the termholders in a new and faster way, through ‘sustainability’ has started being usedthe internet. The demand of information by many organisations in their reporting,on sustainability is increasing. A grow- generally referring to non financial anding number of writers over the last quar- social objectives, but sometimes usingter of century have recognized that the the term to encompass both financial andactivities of an organisation impact upon social objectives. The terms of corporatethe external environment and have sug- sustainability and corporate social re-gested that such an organisation should sponsibility have been used inter-therefore be accountable to a wider audi- changeably in this report.ence than simply its shareholders (Aras& Crowther, 2008). Although, the research on corporate so- cial responsibility has gained a wide at-The challenge for organisation today is tention in developed countries such asnot only to create value to the sharehold- Europe and United States, previous stud-ers but also need to consider the impacts ies have found that the level of corporateof its activities to the society as well as social responsibility of Malaysian publicthe environment. There is a continuing listed companies is still generally lowdebate pertaining to the role of corporate (Nik Nazli, Maliah, & Siswantoro, 2003;in the society. Sustainability or corporate Dawkins & Ngunjiri, 2008). In addition,social responsibility involves a new way the reporting of corporate social respon-of doing business that extends legal and sibility in Asian countries is much lesseconomic responsibilities to satisfy the comprehensive than in most advancedlegitimate social and environmental ex- Western countries. Asian companiespectations of multiple groups of stake- remain very cautious about disclosure ofholders (Cresti, 2009). information to outsiders on matters re- lated to corporate social responsibilityVarious terms are used for the goals de- (Debroux, 2006). The prior literatures onsired or intended by organisations that corporate social responsibility disclosurerelate to sustainability, including focused more on the annual report dis-
R. Mohammed et. al. / Issues in Social and Environmental Accounting 2 (2009/2010) 160-179 162closure and gave less attention to the into five sections. The second sectiondisclosure through corporate web site reviews the literature. The third section(Al Arussi, Mohamad Hisyam, & describes the methodology which is thenMustafa, 2009; Williams & Pei, 1999). followed by the discussion of the resultsFor example, Williams & Pei (1999) in section four. Finally, the last sectionmention that empirical investigations presents the conclusion.examining the influence of internet dis-closure practices is still very much in itsinfancy. However, for the past few years Sustainability/corporate social respon-the study of corporate social responsibil- sibility disclosureity reporting through the internet hasstarted to receive attention in the Asian Over the last decade, sustainable issuescontext (for example Fukukawa & have become increasingly significant toMoon, 2004; Thompson & Zakaria, policy makers in both the political and2004; Chapple & Moon, 2005; Al the business world (Avila & Bradley,Arussi, Mohamad Hisyam, & Mustafa, 1993; Ladd Greeno, 1994). As men-2009). This study aims to fill this knowl- tioned by Elliot & Elliot (1998), the areaedge gap by examining the sustainability of green accounting is probably moredisclosure through corporate web sites popular than pure social accounting be-among Malaysian Shari’ah-Compliant cause of high profile of green issues inlisted companies. general. Based on their study, the green accounting issues are specifically classi-This paper reports the preliminary re- fied under sustainability and environ-sults on the sustainability disclosure in mental pollution. On the other hand,the corporate web sites. The themes of government and statutory requirementssustainability disclosure used in this also force manufacturers to improvestudy are categorized into three: shari’ah their environmental performance, forcompliance indicator, corporate govern- example, waste minimization, pollutionance index and social and environmental prevention, energy conservation andindex. The main objective of this study other health and safety issues (Pun et al.,is to investigate how shari’ah compliant 2002).listed companies in Malaysia presenttheir corporate social responsibility of For example, the Association of Char-the three themes mentioned earlier in tered Certified Accountants Malaysiatheir corporate web sites. This study ad- Sustainability Reporting Awardsdresses the following research questions: (ACCA MaSRA), previously known asIs corporate sustainability presented on ACCA Malaysia Environmental andcorporate web sites? What types of Social Reporting Awards (ACCAthemes i.e., shari’ah compliance index, MESRA) was first introduced in Malay-corporate governance index and social/ sia in 2002, with the aim to encourageenvironmental index are presented on the uptake of sustainability (or corporatethe web sites? How is corporate social social responsibility) reporting amongresponsibility presented on the web companies in Malaysia. Through thesites? awards, businesses are encouraged to report on the impact of their businessThe remainder of this report is divided operations to the environment and soci-
163 R. Mohammed et. al. / Issues in Social and Environmental Accounting 2 (2009/2010) 160-179ety they operate in. By enlarging the of the poor. Further, Mohd Rizal, Rus-awards to embrace sustainability, ACCA nah & Kamaruzaman (2006) suggesthopes to encourage corporate Malaysia that the tawhidic approach be used forto examine and account for their “big corporate social responsibility disclo-picture” consequences on society, econ- sure. The tawhidic approach consists ofomy and environment. By focusing on three relationships, which are to Allah,sustainability reporting, organisations human and environment. They explainwill be able to differentiate themselves that based on the axiom of Tawhid, thefrom other reporters and this will give main objectives of social responsibilitythem the edge to compete in the global should be to demonstrate responsibilityarena. not only to Allah and human beings, but also to environment. Hence, the leadersNot only it is important for companies to in Islamic business organisations areengage in favourable sustainability is- required to practise corporate social re-sues, but they also need to report those sponsibility essentially from the princi-activities. According to Kolk, van ple of Tawhid. It must be rememberedderVeen & Hay (2002), KPMG pub- that all possessions, wealth, expertise,lished an International Survey of Corpo- abilities, positions and power belongs torate Sustainability Reporting to docu- Allah. Mankind is only trustees to them.ment all the activities of the companies. As trustees, it is imperative that peopleAs mentioned in most published articles, manage these possessions to the best orsuch as Dawkins & Ngunjiri (2008), their abilities to create a maximumcompanies’ disclosure with regard to added value in corporate social responsi-sustainability information can lead to bility by intention of creating benefit tofavorable perceptions of corporate gov- the ummah (community).ernance and Poitevin (1990) and Ravid& Saring (1991) mentioned that this in- According to Mohd Rizal, Rusnah &formation will be used by investors to Kamaruzaman (2006), in Islam, the con-make decisions. According to Dawkins cept of corporate social responsibility& Ngunjiri (2008), disclosures on corpo- disclosure of Islamic business organisa-rate social responsibilities are one way tions should include a different set ofthat companies demonstrate their legiti- requirement from the conventional west-macy to stakeholders. ern format. The main objective of Is- lamic corporate social responsibility dis-From Islamic perspective, social respon- closure is to show compliance with Is-sibility is resulted from the concept of lamic Shari’ah, i.e. to demonstrate ac-brotherhood and social justice (Mohd countability to Allah. Disclosure from anRizal, Rusnah, & Kamaruzaman, 2006). Islamic perspective of accounting meansThe practice of social justice will pre- disclosing information that would aidvent Muslims from doing harm and is economics as well as religious decision-strengthened through the concept of uk- making. The implications of this is thathuwwah (brotherhood). Brotherhood Islamic business organisations shouldmakes Muslims responsible to each disclose all information necessary toother. The commitment of Islam to jus- advise the Islamic ummah about theirtice and brotherhood demands that Mus- operations, even if such informationlim society take care of the basic needs would work against the firm itself. They
R. Mohammed et. al. / Issues in Social and Environmental Accounting 2 (2009/2010) 160-179 164suggested that Islamic business organi- State-of-the-art of sustainability dis-sations should make a disclosure on cor- closure in Malaysiaporate mission statement, informationrelated to the top management, unlawful ACCA (Nik Nazli, Maliah, & Siswan-(haram) operations, Shari’ah Advisory toro, 2003) in its Environmental Report-Board, zakat, employees, products and ing Guidelines for Malaysian Companiesservices, community involvement, qard has defined environmental reporting asal-hasan funds and environment. ‘the disclosure by an entity of environmentally related data,Shahul Hameed, Wirman, Alrazi, Mohd verified (audited) or not, regard-Nazli, & Pramono (2004) argued that the ing environmental risks, environ-development of the indices to gauge the mental impacts, policies, strate-performance of Islamic business organi- gies, target, costs, liabilities, orsations nowadays is seen important as environmental performance, tothere is a growing awareness among the those who have an interest in suchMuslim community to assess how far information, as an aid to enablingthese organisations have successfully their relationship with the report-achieved their objectives. Further, they ing entity via either, the annualviewed that most Muslims now are not report and account package, aonly conscious about how much of the standalone corporate environ-return they can get, but more impor- mental performance report, a site-tantly, to where their money has been centred environmental statementinvested. While for the non-Muslims or some other medium (e.g. Staffcommunity such indices are beneficial to newsletter, video, CD-ROM andthem to compare between organisations website) (page 9).that have performed better, perhaps interms of returns as well as the social re- According to the ACCA there is nosponsibilities. The authors suggested statutory requirement in Malaysia re-two types of indices – Islamicity Disclo- quiring public-listed companies to dis-sure Index and Islamicity Performance close environmental information to theIndex. These indices are developed to public except for the legislation such ashelp stakeholders i.e. depositors, share- Occupational Safety and Health Act,holders, religious bodies, government 1994 and associated regulations. Basedetc to evaluate the performance of Is- on the report summary of the ACCAlamic financial institutions. The Islamic- (2005), the number of companies report-ity disclosure index is to examine how ing on environmental performance haswell the organisations are disclosing the increased from 25 companies in 1999 toinformation that might be useful to the 43 in 2002 and reached 60 companies bystakeholders. On the other hand, the 2003. Up to 2004, the manufacturingIslamicity performance index is about sector is the largest sector to be engagedthe performance of the organisation that in environmental reporting, followed bycovers the profit-sharing performance, the plantation sector and then, the trad-zakat performance and equitable distri- ing and service sectors.bution performance.
165 R. Mohammed et. al. / Issues in Social and Environmental Accounting 2 (2009/2010) 160-179The ACCA’s report (2005) claimed that place, environment and community di-the level of awareness among the firms mensions. However, no research revealsin Malaysia to report their environ- the number of Malaysian Shari’ah-mental practice is at an early stage. compliant companies which disclosedThus, the companies need further expla- the sustainability disclosure in Malaysia.nation and motivation by the govern-ment such as granting them incentivesand providing appropriate skills and en- Corporate social responsibility com-vironmental training programs. Hasnah, munication and web sitesSofri, Andrew, Sharon, & Ishak (2004)also found in their study that corporate Previously, researchers used annual re-social disclosure among Malaysian com- ports as their medium of communicationpanies was very low compared to other (Che Zuriana, Kasumalinda, & Rapiah,countries such as European countries. 2002). As reasons provided by Adam & Harte (1998), corporate annual reportsAccordingly, Romlah, Takiah, & Nordin can be of interest as much for what they(2002) investigated the environmental do no report, as for their actual contentreporting practice in the annual reports. and it is main form of corporate commu-The results of the study indicated that nication and in the case of quoted com-environmental information was not well panies, is made widely available. How-published in the annual reports of Ma- ever, recently with the advancements inlaysian companies. The majority of the information and communication technol-information can be found in the Review ogy, an annual report is no longer theof the Operation and in the Chairman’s first ranking medium for investors toStatements. Another study conducted by gather companies’ information. Jones &Environmental Resources Management Walton (1999) mentioned that environ-Malaysia (2002) on the current status of mental reporting is now appearing inenvironmental reporting in Malaysia different formats and in different com-demonstrated that there are an increasing munication methods. Jones & Waltonnumber of Bursa Malaysia main board (1999) stated that the internet shouldcompanies engaging in some form of become an important medium to com-environmental reporting. The recent municate environmental informationsurvey done by Bursa Malaysia in 2007 because it is an expanding medium(Ng, 2008) revealed that Malaysian through which corporate stakeholderslisted companies showed poor under- are increasingly gathering and dissemi-standing and lack of awareness in incor- nating information about companies’porating corporate social responsibility activities to global audience.policies and disclosures in their dailyoperations. A breakdown of the results A number of researchers agree that theshow that 11.5% are in the poor cate- internet as an important medium to com-gory, 28.5% are in the below average municate corporate social responsibilityand 27.5% are in the average categories. information (see for example ChaudhriThe responses were based on the disclo- & Wang, 2007; Wanderly et al., 2008;sures during their operations in the fi- Akinci Vural & Oksuz, 2009). For ex-nancial year of 2006 and 2007 and ample, Wanderly et al. (2008) men-measured based on marketplace, work- tioned that corporate communication is a
R. Mohammed et. al. / Issues in Social and Environmental Accounting 2 (2009/2010) 160-179 166much under-investigated area of corpo- broader locality than the traditional printrate social responsibility. They also ex- medium of annual reports. However, inplained that internet is increasingly be- Malaysia Williams & Pei (1999) alsocoming one of the main tools for corpo- mentioned the disclosures of sustainabil-rate social responsibility information ity and corporate social information diddisclosure, as it allows companies to not provide any significance differencespublicise more information less expen- either by printed annual reports or bysively and faster than ever before. website. The study of corporate socialUnlike traditional media i.e. newspapers, responsibility communication on themagazines, billboards, television and internet has started to receive attentionradio, the internet allows the company to in the Asian context (Thompson & Za-publicise detailed and up-to-date infor- karia, 2004; Chaudhri & Wang, 2007; Almation. Moreover, the information re- Arussi, Mohamad Hisham & Mustafa,mains permanently available on the web, 2009).allowing the internet user to choosewhich subjects he/she wants to accessand as often as he/she wishes. Corporate Methodologywebsites provide an official perspectiveregarding corporate social responsibility The Samplewithin the corporation for all it stake- The sampling frame for this study is Ma-holders. laysian Shari’ah-Compliant companies listed on the main board of Bursa Ma-In order to prepare an environmental or laysia. As at 28 November 2008, theresustainability reports, companies likely were 855 Shari’ah-compliant securitiesneed to have a large amount of environ- as determined by the Shari’ah Advisorymental or sustainability information, Council (SAC) of the Securities Com-thus according to Philips et al. (1999), mission (SC). This represented 87% ofinternet technology has made the task the total listed securities or 64.3% of theeasier to store and retrieve large quantity market capitalisation on Bursa Malaysiaof environmental or sustainability data (Bursa Malaysia, 2009). The list of therequired. As mentioned by Williams & companies was obtained from BursaPei (1999), the World Wide Web has the Malaysia website, accessed on 5 Aprilability to deliver information to a wider 2009. Of the 855 shari’ah compliant se-spectrum of stakeholders across a curities, this study focuses on the 523 Table 1: Sample Selection Industrial Sector Number of Companies in Sample Consumer Products 16 Industrial Products 19 Construction 16 Trading/Services 26 Properties 20 Plantations 20 Technology 17 Total 134
167 R. Mohammed et. al. / Issues in Social and Environmental Accounting 2 (2009/2010) 160-179shari’ah compliant companies which are first accountability arises through thelisted on the main board of Bursa Ma- concept of Khilafa whereby a man is alaysia. However, this paper reports the trustee of Allah’s resources. This pri-preliminary results of the study which mary accountability is transcendent, as itcovers only a part of the total main cannot be perceived through the senses.board shari’ah-compliant listed compa- However, it is made visible through thenies. Table 1 illustrates the sample selec- revelation of the Qur’an and Hadith,tion for the preliminary results of the which are the sources of Islamic teach-study. ings. The second accountability is estab-The SAC has applied a standard crite- lished by a contract between an owner orrion in focusing on the activities of the investor and a manager. To dischargecompanies listed on Bursa Malaysia. As the secondary accountability, the com-such, subject to certain conditions, com- pany should identify, measure and reportpanies whose activities are not contrary the socio-economic activities pertainingto the Shari’ah principles will be classi- to Islamic, social, economic, environ-fied as Shari’ah-compliant securities. On mental, and other issues to the owner.the other hand, companies will be classi-fied as Shari’ah non-compliant securitiesif they are involved in the following core Data Collectionactivities:(a) Financial services based on riba Data were collected using the informa- (interest); tion disclosed in the companies’ web(b) Gambling and gaming; site. This study used the disclosure via(c) Manufacture or sale of non-halal web sites because these media are a products or related products; popular alternative mechanism for dis-(d) Conventional insurance; seminating accounting information(e) Entertainment activities that is non- (Williams & Pei, 1999). According to permissible according to Shari’ah; Williams & Pei (1999) the disclosures(f) Manufacture or sale of tobacco- via World Wide Web has several advan- based products or related products; tages. First, the World Wide Web has(g) Stockbroking or share trading in international implications which are its Shari’ah non-compliant securities; potential to promote harmonization in and disclosure practices. Second, the World(h) Other activities deemed non- Wide Web has the ability to deliver in- permissible according to Shari’ah formation to a wider spectrum of stake- holders across a broader locality withinThis study focuses on shari’ah- the same time frame with greater regu-compliant companies because it is ex- larity and lower cost. Further, this studypected that these companies are more chooses disclosure via World Wide Webaccountable in disseminating informa- since the influence of this medium ontion to the stakeholders. Islamic account- disclosure practices are still very muchability is defined by Shahul Hameed, in its infancy (Williams & Pei, 1999; AlWirman, Alrazi, Mohd Nazli, & Arussi, Mohamad Hisyam, & Mustafa,Pramono (2004) as being premised on 2009).both Islamic/Muslim organisations andowners with dual accountability. The The screening of the corporate web sites
R. Mohammed et. al. / Issues in Social and Environmental Accounting 2 (2009/2010) 160-179 168of the companies reported in these pre- examine how well the organisation isliminary results was carried out from disclosing the information that might beApril until June 2009. The web sites of useful to the stakeholders. All the itemsthe shari’ah-compliant listed companies chosen are supported by the literaturewere located through the Bursa Malaysia from various authors and sources. De-web site which provides links to the tails on the items of the Islamicity dis-companies’ websites. If the companies’ closure index for each theme (15 itemsweb sites were not found there, the most on shari’ah compliance indicator, 35widely used search engines such as items on corporate governance indexGoogle and Yahoo were used to dis- and 14 items on social and environ-cover it. mental index) are presented in Appendix 1.Measurement of the Quantity and Na-ture of Sustainability Disclosure Based on the items of the Islamicity dis- closure index, a checklist table is pre-The quantity of sustainability disclosures pared using Excel. Each item was for-was measured using content analysis. mulated on a simple yes/no basis, en-Krippendorff (1980) states that content coded as 1 for the disclosure on the cor-analysis is a research technique for mak- porate web site only and 2 for the disclo-ing replicable and valid inferences from sure in the annual report linked on thedata according to their context. This corporate web site. However, if no dis-technique has been readily applied and closure made neither on web sites nor inwidely used in corporate social disclo- the annual report linked on the web site,sure-based research (see for example 0 was encoded. Further notes were madeGray, Kouhy, & Lavers, 1995a; 1995b) if the corporate web site was not updated or the annual report linked on the corpo-A checklist instrument categorized sus- rate web site could not be opened or thetainability disclosures into three major placement of CSR information on thethemes: (1) shari’ah compliance indica- corporate web site (home page vs. pri-tor; (2) corporate governance index; (3) mary/secondary link on its home page).social and environmental index. This It is very important to reinforce that thisinstrument was adopted from the study study only examined the disclosure ap-carried out by Shahul Hameed, Wirman, peared on the corporate web site or inAlrazi, Mohd Nazli, & Pramono (2004) the annual report linked on the corporatewith some modification. This instrument web site. If a company did not meet anyis originally called an Islamicity Disclo- of both mentioned situation, then thesure Index and is developed particularly company is considered to have no dis-for Islamic financial institution to help closure of corporate social responsibil-stakeholders i.e. depositors, sharehold- ity. At the end of the coding process,ers, religious bodies, government, etc to total numbers of disclosures wereevaluate their performance. Shahul summed up separately for the disclo-Hameed, Wirman, Alrazi, Mohd Nazli, sures on the web sites and in the annual& Pramono (2004) explained that the reports linked on the corporate webIslamicity disclosure index is meant to sites.
169 R. Mohammed et. al. / Issues in Social and Environmental Accounting 2 (2009/2010) 160-179Results and discussion information such as the composition of the board of directors (BOD), recruit-Figure 1 provides descriptive statistics ment of new directors, remuneration offor the total sample. Overall, the Malay- directors, the use of board committees,sian shari’ah-compliant listed companies their mandates and their activities.do have some disclosures on shari’ah Regarding the disclosure on the corpo-compliance, corporate governance and rate governance theme, the lowest dis-social and environmental. Figure 1 closure made by the companies falls onshows that 56.4 percent of the sample shari’ah board’s representative in BODcompanies were found to have disclo- under the composition on BOD cate-sure on corporate governance, followed gory. Besides that, none of the compa-by 43.9 percent on the social and envi- nies made a single disclosure on theronmental and 16.3 percent on the shari’ah supervisory board category. Theshari’ah compliance. This is not a sur- possible explanation for this result couldprising result since the corporate govern- be due to the newly-introduced of theance is a mandatory disclosure in Malay- stage of the identification of the Malay-sia (Malaysian Institute of Corporate sian shari’ah compliant companies.Governance, 2009). The Malaysian In- Shari’ah compliant securities are intro-stitute of Corporate Governance required duced in 1997, and the list is updatedthe Malaysian companies to disclose regularly to keep investors informed the Figure 1: Overall Sustainability Disclosureshari’ah status of listed securities based For the shari’ah compliance theme, theon the latest audited annual report of the items on basic information categorycompanies (Security Commission An- such as the company’s vision, missionnual Report 2005). Another possible and objective, and its principal activitiesreason to explain the low level of disclo- appeared to be the most favourable itemssure on this item could be because there to be disclosed. Clearly, all these arewas no clear guideline made by either common information that can be foundBursa Malaysia or the Malaysian Insti- either on the corporate websites or in thetute of Corporate Governance on the annual report. However, pertaining todisclosure for this item. the disclosure on the payment of zakat,
R. Mohammed et. al. / Issues in Social and Environmental Accounting 2 (2009/2010) 160-179 170 (v) Zakat The Group recognises its obligations towards the payment of zakat on business. Zakat for the current period is recognised as and when the Group has a current za- kat obligation as a result of a zakat assessment. The amount of zakat expenses shall be assessed when a company has been in operation for at least 12 months, i.e. for the period known as “haul”. Zakat rates enacted substantively enacted by the balance sheet date are used to de- termine the zakat expense. The rate of zakat on business, as determined by the Na- tional Fatwa Council for 2008 is a 2.5% of the zakat base. The zakat base of the Group is determined based on the profit after tax of eligible companies within the Group after deducting certain non-operating income and expenses. Zakat on busi- ness is calculated by multiplying the zakat rate with zakat base. The amount of za- kat assessed is recognised as an expense in the year in which it is incurred. Excerpt from the annual report of Pharmaniaga Berhadonly three of the sample companies est level of disclosure for shari’ah com-made such disclosure. The following is pliance is made by plantations sectorthe example of the disclosure on the followed by trading/services, properties,payment of zakat found in one of the technology, construction, consumer andcompanies (see the next page) industrial products. While for the corpo- rate governance, technology sector dis-The low level of disclosure on the closed the highest. This is followed byShari’ah Compliance theme is inconsis- the plantation, construction, industrial,tent with the suggestion in the prior lit- properties, trading/services and con-erature. For example Khan (1994), Sha- sumer products. The technology sectorhul Hameed, Wirman, Alrazi, Mohd also made the highest disclosures on theNazli, & Pramono (2004), Mohd Rizal, social and environmental theme. TheRusnah & Kamaruzaman (2006) sug- plantation sector is the second highestgested that Islamic business organisa- followed by construction, industrialtions should disclose additional informa- products, trading/services, consumer andtion on zakat payable, treatment of the properties.employees, Islamic and non-Islamic in-vestments, Islamic and non-Islamic The comparison to the prior studies mayrevenue and adherence to the Islamic be difficult to be made due to the differ-code of ethics. The low level of disclo- ent themes used amongst studies. Forsure particularly on the zakat payment is examples, shari’ah compliance was notinteresting and could trigger a question widely used in the past. Though thefor future research that is whether the study of Shahul Hameed, Wirman, Al-Islamic business organisations in Malay- razi, Mohd Nazli, & Pramono (2004)sia pay the zakat but do not disclose the used the shari’ah compliance, the studyinformation or they do not make the za- only focused on the Islamic financialkat payment at all. institutions. Consequently, the interpre- tation of the results in this study shouldReferring to the details result presented be carefully made since the sample ofin Table 2 (see the next page), the high- this study only includes the Malaysian
171 R. Mohammed et. al. / Issues in Social and Environmental Accounting 2 (2009/2010) 160-179 Table 2: Sustainability Disclosure by Industries Shari’ah Compliance Corporate Social & Governance Environmental Industrial Sector No. of % of No. of % of No. of % of items disclosure items disclosure items disclosureConsumer Products 28 11.7 192 34.3 61 27.2Industrial Products 27 9.5 392 58.9 111 41.7Construction 30 12.5 354 63.2 97 43.3Trading/Services 74 19.0 425 46.7 117 32.1Properties 51 17.0 362 51.7 51 18.2Plantations 86 28.7 488 69.7 158 56.4Technology 32 12.5 433 72.8 228 95.8 Figure 2: Comparison of Sustainability Disclosure between Companies’ Web Sites and Annual Report Linked on Companies’ Web Sites (Overall Companies)shari’ah-compliant listed companies nual report linked on companies’ webadded with the use of different themes in sites of overall companies and by indus-this study. Besides that, this study only tries respectively. Overall, the Malaysiananalyses the companies that have web shari’ah-compliant listed companies dis-sites and annual reports that linked on closed sustainability information in thethe companies’ web sites. annual report linked on the companies’ web sites compared to disclose directlyFigures 2 and 3 present the results on in the companies website (see Figure 2).comparison of sustainability disclosure This study also found that 28 companiesbetween companies’ web sites and an- (21 percent) only disclosed the basic/
R. Mohammed et. al. / Issues in Social and Environmental Accounting 2 (2009/2010) 160-179 172minimal information such as the busi- mation system department are moreness activities and vision and mission on likely to disclose more informationtheir web sites. These companies also through their web sites. This probablydid not have a link to the companies’ could explain for the lack of informationannual report. Al Arussi, Mohamad Hi- disclosed on the web sites by these com-syam, & Mustafa (2009) found that the panies. Mostly, the annual reports linkedlevel of technology is significantly re- on the companies web sites are foundlated to the internet financial and envi- under the investor relation or financialronmental disclosure. They expected section. The disclosure of sustainabilitythat the companies that have the infor- in the companies’ web sites could also Figure 3: Comparison of Sustainability Disclosure between Companies’ Web Sites and Annual Report Linked on Companies’ Web Sites (By Industries)be found in other sections such as Conclusion“About us” and “Company Profile”.There are also companies that have the The main objective of this study is toseparate sections that disclose the infor- investigate how shari’ah compliant listedmation about corporate governance and companies in Malaysia present their cor-corporate social responsibility on its porate social responsibility of the threeown. themes (Islamicity disclosure) on their corporate web sites. It was found that theFrom Figure 3, it shows that the technol- format of information provided is di-ogy industry has the highest sustainabil- verse. Most of the companies discloseity disclosure either in the companies’ the items measured in the annual reportsweb site or annual report linked to the linked to the companies’ web site andcompanies’ web sites. are thus not fully found in the corporate
173 R. Mohammed et. al. / Issues in Social and Environmental Accounting 2 (2009/2010) 160-179web site. This study reports the prelimi- The results provide evidence on the levelnary results of 134 companies. Most of accountability of Islamic businessMalaysian Shari’ah-compliant listed organisations to disclose informationcompanies disclose information related that can help the Muslim community toto sustainability disclosure fall signifi- make economics and religious decision-cantly on corporate governance index making. As there is limited empiricalthemes, followed by social and environ- evidence on the Shari’ah compliancemental index themes. However, Malay- disclosure, the findings from this studysian Shari’ah-compliant listed compa- could be used as a benchmark for futurenies did not clearly disclose the items research. Further, this study also pro-under Shari’ah compliance index. The vides an indication of the use of elec-result provides further evidence that tronic media, in particular, World Widemandatory rules and regulation to dis- Web, in disclosing information to theclose corporate governance information stakeholders, rather than just traditionalwill be one of the motivation factors for print media. The findings contribute tothe companies to disclose such informa- the limited body of knowledge in thistion. Accordingly, the results of this area.study provide some preliminary evi-dence of the growing awareness within The findings have several implications.the Malaysian Shari’ah-compliant listed First, it appears that without some formcompanies of disclosing sustainability of mandatory regulation, voluntary dis-information, so as to unveil the corpo- closure with regard to sustainability in-rate image and to be sustained as respon- formation is unlikely to result in either asible corporate citizens. high quality of disclosure or sufficiency of disclosure among Malaysia Shari’ah-As with any consideration in Islamicity compliant listed companies. Absence ofindex to further investigate the shari’ah sustainability disclosure standard iscompliance complied by the listed com- likely to be one of the possible reasonspanies, the results suggested that compa- of lacking in information being dis-nies in different sectors have their own closed in website or annual report linkedperception in terms of shari’ah disclo- to the website. Second, the disclosure ofsure. This is not surprising given that sustainability information in web siteplantation was the highest ranking in confirms the proposition in the literaturedisclosing Shari’ah information because review that suggests the web site willthis type of companies is environmen- easily disseminate information to atally-sensitive industries. By assuming global audience. This study shows thatthis type of industries does not involve even though the application of web sitein any illegal operation, these results in disseminating information to the in-provide some implication to the sector terested parties is still at infancy stages,across industry groups where companies most of the companies relied on the ac-that declare themselves as Shari’ah- curacy of the website function, wherebased companies which categorised as they are likely to include their annualenvironmentally-sensitive industries reports that linked to their companies’may have more concern to disclose sus- website which can be traced and seen bytainability information according to the outsiders.Islamic rules.
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177 R. Mohammed et. al. / Issues in Social and Environmental Accounting 2 (2009/2010) 160-179 Appendix 1 Islamicity Disclosure Index Shari’ah Compliance Index1 Shari’ah Supervisory Board (SSB): a. The appointment of SSB b. The report of SSB c. Identification the actual activity conducted d. The SSB members’ background (Name, Educational background, experiences)2 Basic of Information a. The Vision, mission and objectives b. Principal activity3 Financial Statement a. Identification of Islamic investment b. Identification of non-Islamic investment c. Identification of Islamic revenue d. Identification of non-Islamic revenue e. Provide the statement of sources and uses of funds in Zakat and charity f. Provide the statement of sources and uses of funds in the qard funds g. Identification sources of revenue : a. excluded revenue attributable to depositors b. excluded revenue attributable to Murabaha financing h. The adoption of current value whenever it is possible i. Value added statement Corporate Governance Index1 Composition of board of directors a. The board of directors comprises at least one-third of independent non-executive director b. The board of directors has representative from Shari’ah board2 Appointment and Re-appointment a. The directors retire by rotation once in three years and subsequently eligible for re- appointment b. The reappointment of non-executive directors is not automatic c. The terms of appointment of the non-executive directors are disclosed3 Board meetings a. Board meetings were conducted at least four times a year
R. Mohammed et. al. / Issues in Social and Environmental Accounting 2 (2009/2010) 160-179 178 Appendix 1 Islamicity Disclosure Index (continued) b. Number of board meetings held in a year and the details of attendance of each individual director in respect of meetings held are disclosed c. Directors attend at least 75% of meeting on average4 Directors’ fees and remuneration a. Directors remuneration is disclosed b. Separate figures for salary and performance-related elements, and the basis on which per- formance is measured are be explained c. Shareholder approve directors aggregate pay5 Nomination committee a. The company has nomination committee b. The committee should exclusively consists of non-executive directors which majority are independent6 Remuneration Committee a. There is a Remuneration Committee b. Remuneration consisting wholly or mainly of non-executive directors c. Membership of the remuneration committee should appear in the directors’ report7 Audit Committee a. There is an audit committee b. The Audit Committee consists of at least three non-executive directors, whom majority are independent c. Audit committee include someone with expertise in accounting d. Audit committee recommends the external auditor at the annual shareholders meeting e. At least, once a year the committee met with the external auditors without executive board members present, to review financial statement f. Details of the activities of audit committees, the number of audit meetings held in a year and details of attendance of each individual director in respect of meetings are disclosed g. Audit committee members attend at least 75% of meetings on average8 Shari’ah Supervisory Board Include someone with expertise in accounting SSB meets with audit committee and/or external auditor to review financial statement Details of the activities of SSB, the number of board meetings held in a year and details of atten- dance of each individual member in respect of meetings are disclosed SSB committee members attend at least 75% of meetings on average SSB is independent body9 Others Directors, senior management are qualified persons in terms of educational background, work- ing experience etc
179 R. Mohammed et. al. / Issues in Social and Environmental Accounting 2 (2009/2010) 160-179 Appendix 1 Islamicity Disclosure Index (continued) Chairman and CEO are different persons There is a Risk Management Committee English disclosure exists There is a statement on Corporate Governance The maintenance of an effective system of internal controls is disclosed There is director’s report Social and Environmental Index1. Policy and objective Mission statement/statement of environmental policy Mission statement/statement of social policy Environmental target and objective Social target and objective2. Community issues Consumer care Community involvement3. Employees issues Health and safety Employee training Reporting on other issues4. Environmental issues Environmental protection View on environmental issues Environmental Management System Energy saving Environmental indicators and target
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