Governance, Integrity and Ethics

Research Projects

Towards becoming a global Islamic financial hub, an Islamic-based business framework can be explored and expanded to transform dynamic existing businesses that were incorporated using conventional capitalistic approach into Islamic-based organizations to address the socio-economic injustice within the nation, and consequently to transform the nation into a high income status by creating wealth equitably to the ummah with ethical and moral values. According to Md Saad, Kassim and Kassim (2013), the concept of corporate waqf can be used as an innovation to create wealth through business and corporate efforts to encourage economic growth. The view is waqf corporations can sustain corporate ownership of wealth and resources in the community and hence are able to address leakages and erosion of ownership due to its longevity (Muhammad Ali, 2014).  This study is thus motivated to reexamine the waqf concept in the context of a business environment to transform existing dynamic businesses into Islamic-based business models to enhance business sustainability and wealth creation for the ummah.

This study aims to propose and validate Community-Driven Corporate Waqf  (i-Biz) as a mechanism to enhance business sustainability  towards  Wealth Creation  for the Ummah. Specifically, this study will: 1) Explore public perception on corporate waqf as a mechanism to enhance wealth creation, 2) Investigate the existing corporate waqf practices locally and internationally, 3) Develop a new community-driven corporate waqf model to enhance business sustainability, 4) Explore the feasibility of applying community–driven corporate waqf for government-linked companies (GLCs), 5) Examine the implementation of community-driven corporate waqf toward wealth creation for the ummah, and 6) Develop a corporate waqf business database profiling system for monitoring the performance of intrapreneurs and businesses under the mother corporation to offer development intervention to enhance their performance.
 
While conventional microfinance institutions (MFIs) have expanded their operations in the last two decades, poverty-focused MFIs based on Islamic principles are lagging behind. The existing MFI model focuses only on the aspects of funding (and subsequent collection) and setting up of businesses by entrepreneurs. No intervention is made to link entrepreneurs with suppliers and marketers for their microfinance businesses. As such, many microfinance businesses are suffering from lack of sustainability and could not progress to a higher level, just like the Islamic microfinance institutions (Islamic MFIs), themselves. As a consequence of this particular issue, The Islamic MFIs cannot reach out the poor, as well as it is demanded.  Several research have been conducted investigating reasons of lack of sustainability of the Islamic MFIs (Achraya, 2006; Babandi, 2011, Tapha, 2007). These studies mostly found that lack of sustainability of microfinance institutions is steaming from not having sustainable financial and managerial performance. Interestingly, a new area has recently been raised among the scholars about another reason for lacking sustainability and outreach of microfinance institutions. These particular research found that microfinance institutions with efficient internal control mechanisms are more likely to have better sustainable organizational performance (CGAP, 2013; Campion, 2010). Based on this argument, designing, construction and implementation of efficient internal control system seems to be necessary for Islamic microfinance institutions. As such, its potential benefits like enhancing level of sustainability may lead the Islamic microfinance institutions to serve the clients more efficiently.

Recently, a third sector, comprising non-profit organizations has been identified as a potential main contributor to the national economy.  An economic model that incorporates the third sector together with the public and private sectors is argued to be not only economically viable, but ethically superior, in achieving economic development (Mohd Nahar et. al., 2014).  However, most non-profit organisations in Malaysia rely either on government allocations or public donations for funding.  A sustainable third sector should generate its own funding by establishing social enterprises.  A social enterprise is a business that has both social (creation of jobs) and commercial (profits) goals. However, a social enterprise will participate in social investment where it reinvest its profits back into the enterprise or use them to further the organisation’s social goals, rather than deliver a return to investors. Therefore, the adoption of Islamic–based social investment can provide all-inclusive and complementary initiatives in generating wealth for the nation. However, as non-profit sector is generally less well regulated, there are an array of potential abuse and misappropriations of assets that can arise. Hence, there is a need to develop an accountability and risk management framework and practices in safeguarding the sector and build greater trusts with the relevant stakeholders.
Corporate Ethics and Integrity System: Good Governance Measures
The research will employ mixed method approach involving questionnaires and interviews as the data collection techniques. In order to develop the Corporate Integrity Assessment Model (CIAM), an extensive literature review will be carried out leading to the conception of initial model. Focus group discussions will be engaged to refine the initial model leading to the establishment of the finalized Corporate Integrity Assessment Model. Based on the developed model, a corresponding instrument i.e. questionnaire will be developed. The questionnaire will undergo the robust development process involving pre-test and pilot test with appropriate number of samples. The questionnaire will be automated or computerized into web-based information systems that will enable data to be collected via on-line. The CIAM and its corresponding questionnaire will be used to assess the effectiveness of governance in enhancing integrity.
 Corruption Risks and Mitigation Approaches in Public and Private Sectors
This research will use three instruments, namely questionnaire; focus group and face-to-face interview. The self-administered questionnaire for data collection embraces questions relating to governance infrastructure in combatting corruption in public and private sectors. Sampling used in this research will come from the federal government/ministries, federal statutory bodies and local government as well as the private sectors. The respondents will be among the technical employees (e.g. architects, engineers and accountants) and non-technical employees.  Next, this research will conduct focus group in which a group of selected people will be invited for focus group discussion relating to issues on corruption as well as discussing about their opinions with regards to the awareness and commitment to mitigate corruption level in Malaysia. They will also be expected to recommend the initiatives to be implemented by the Malaysian government in curbing corruption.
 Risk Assessment and Shariah Audit towards Shariah Compliance
This research employs case studies to identify the impact of the Shariah audit function in assuring Shariah compliance of the activities and operations of the organization. The case study research will be conducted among Islamic organizations aim to examine the gap between the existing conventional audit practices the current practices. It is aimed to come up with a comprehensive and integrated Shariah audit framework to comply with the objective of the Shariah (Maqasid Al-Shariah). This study surveys different groups of respondents who are involved directly or indirectly, with the process of shariah compliance/auditing in Islamic organizations in countries that practice Islamic finance by employing survey method of questionnaires and interviews. This is to obtain insight into the existing practices as well as what is expected by the respondents or ‘what ought to be’ the shariah auditing in the Islamic finance industry.

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 Accounting Research Institute (ARI)
Level 12, Menara SAAS 
Universiti Teknologi MARA (UiTM)
40450 Shah Alam
Selangor, MALAYSIA

 

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Fax : +603 5544 4992

Email: ari@uitm.edu.my

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