Saturday, 18th August, 2001

Labuan IOFC Has Clean Reputation
By: Sohan Das

Labuan: The two-day seminar held here on "Good Governance and Managing Integrity" for market players in the International Offshore Centre (IOFC) was not due to any form of pressure from International Supervisory bodies.

In fact, Labuan was in the good books according to world opinion, and at one point asked for itself to be reviewed and emerged as a top clean centre in the region.

Speaking after launching the seminar jointly organised by the Labuan Offshore Financial Services Authority (LOFSA) and Anti Corruption Agency (ACA), Deputy Governor of Bank Negara Datuk Mohd Salleh Harun said "the purpose of the seminar was to highlight the point that awareness of good corporate governance is not enough it should be practised."

Earlier, he said that globalisation had made the world increasingly borderless and as such LOFSA was also continuously assessing and upgrading the legal supervisory framework to ensure that it is on par with the latest international supervisory requirements.

Such measure would help promote and reflect Labuan IOFC"s image as a well-regulated and clean centre.

He noted that Offshore Financial Institutions played and important role in generating economic growth for the nation and the surrounding region.

It was therefore essential that policies of good governance and managing integrity were complied with by the management and their staff. Otherwise the effort t enhance the institutions' progress and the economy as a whole could be jeopardised.

On the objective of the seminar, Mohd Salleh said it was to help employees to have the integrity in combating fraud, corrupt practices in the offshore sector.

"Expose the negative elements which may occur in the industry such as fraud, forgery, misappropriation and breach of trust, bribery and other financial crimes. It was also hoped that the seminar would help create a stronger co-operation between ACA and the Offshore Financial Institutions in the prevention of corruption," he said.

He added that of late offshore centres had come under greater international scrutiny that called for higher standards of prudent supervision and regulation.

He also said that the way forward would be for the government and the private sector to forge a closer working relationship in making Labuan free of money-laundering.

Regarding the immense demand of an IT-based environment for business, Mohd Salleh said LOFSA had made several amendments to the Offshore Companies Act 1990 and the Offshore Banking Act 1990 last year to facilitate electronic submission of forms and transfer of funds.

Giving a breakdown of the number of offshore players here, Mohd Salleh said today there are 56 offshore banks, 90 insurance and insurance-related entities, 20 trust companies, 23 leasing companies and 13 fund managers.

The figure for offshore banks was less compared to previous years because of restructuring of banks had lead to some mergers. For example, three offshore Japanese banks are now operating as one following a restructuring exercise.

About 200 delegates attended the seminar. Among those present were LOFSA DG Noorazman Aziz, DG of ACA Datuk Zulkipli Mat Nor and CEO of Labuan Corporation Datuk Mohd Noor Mokhtar.