16 July 2009


An interview with
Dato’ Clement Hii Chii Kok
Executive Deputy Chairman

of Star Publications (M) Bhd

By Eddie Razak, CEO of
Malaysian Investor Relations Association

Dato’, firstly, I wish to congratulate you on the recent launch of Star Publications (M) Bhd's investor relations website. We are pleased to see more listed companies in Malaysia putting greater emphasis on investor relations.

Q: How do you see your investor relations website as part of your overall corporate engagement with shareholders and investors?

A: Star had been engaging shareholders, investors and analysts since our IPO in November 1995 mainly through one-on-one meetings and some group briefings. Our recently launched investor relations website is another platform for such communications but it has the additional advantages of immediacy and reach.

Q: Investors are coming back into the market, albeit cautiously. Do you see this as an opportune time to communicate with shareholders and investors?

A: Whether good or bad times we should be open to communicate with shareholders and investors and various other stakeholders. In fact, I think communication is of great importance during bad times as concerned stakeholders want to know what is happening to our business operations and the impact of the economic environment on the company’s performance and prospects. They don’t appreciate if we only talk during good times and turn off during the bad. It is analogous to being transparent with both good and bad news about the company. This is the essence of good corporate governance.

Q: As a business media that reports on corporate news over the years, do you see listed companies in Malaysia placing more emphasis on corporate disclosure and shareholder engagement?

A: Yes and no. I think there is a tendency for the popular and business press to give more editorial space to the ‘bigger’ names. The same is with the sell-side analysts who tend to pick ‘darling’ stocks. These ‘preferred’ stocks can easily see value in greater resource allocation to corporate disclosure and shareholder engagement. The smaller listed companies may have to do things on a smaller scale. Sometimes the profile of the shareholders and shareholdings influence the level of engagement and corporate disclosure. But with increasing awareness of the need for greater corporate governance there should be more voluntary disclosures.

Q: In your role as both a listed company as well as a market commentator, what would your advice be for other listed companies on their investor relations?

A: First, there must be a buy-in. Boards of listed companies should attach greater significance to investor relations as this is enshrined in the Malaysian Code of Corporate Governance. They should consider various strategies to promote greater visibility about their companies, products or services and business operations. The essence of investor relations is ‘the business tells the story’. A good story needs to be told and the investor relations website is a good channel. Listed companies should make more effort to ‘speak up’ using various media platforms. I suggest they also advertise – about their business products, brands, market position and homepage. It is not only good for business it is good for creating more awareness about the company as an investment opportunity.

This article appeared in the July 2009 issue of BursaBytes, a Bursa Malaysia publication.

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