|In 1959, a small group of professionals involved in company secretaryship arrived
at a consensus to form an association named the Malaysian Association of
Chartered Institute of Secretaries (MACIS) as a body to be affiliated
to the Chartered Institute of Secretaries, United Kingdom. The impetus for this
move was to ensure greater awareness of the pivotal role professionals involved
in company secretaryship could play in the corporate development of the nation
and to assist students preparing to become company secretaries.
Of this pioneer group of visionaries, many were expatriate
officers serving in various organisations representing both the private and
public sectors. Mainly drawn from Kuala Lumpur and Selangor, then as now the
commercial heart of Malaysia, they were graduates from institutions in United
Kingdom or Australia.
E S Thomas and J G Menzies, both Australians, and Lee Hee Seng, a Singaporean,
were among those expatriate officers who were instrumental in charting and
laying the foundations for the subsequent growth and development of the
Association. They were all members of the then Chartered Institute of
Secretaries, UK and now known as the Institute of Chartered Secretaries and
To quote Mr Lee Hee Seng for a flavour of those pioneering times
: "When I discovered that there was no equivalent Association of the Institute
in Malaysia, I contacted the Institute in London and was provided with a list
of chartered secretaries in Malaysia. I was urged by London to form an
Association for Chartered Secretaries and also for those aspiring to be
chartered secretaries in Malaysia. Together with E S Thomas, J G Menzies, D
Teale and a number of Malaysian chartered secretaries including K M Hew and K T
San, we formed and launched the Malaysian Association of the Chartered
Institute of Secretaries in 1960. Two of its primary aims at that point in time
were to establish a better dialogue and network among chartered secretaries and
to provide assistance to students in this field.
When we first launched the Association, there were no more than
20 members and much less than 100 students in Malaysia. Despite its size, it
was an active organisation. Seminars and talks were organised from time to time
and meetings among the chartered secretaries were held regularly. We saw active
participation from members in Kuala Lumpur. Our members even contributed to a
scholarship fund to meet the cost of correspondence courses for deserving
students preparing for the Institute's examinations. A close knit fraternity,
we held annual dinner at which a Cabinet Minister or a top civil servant would
grace the occasion as guest of honour."
On 15 July 1960, the Association with an initial membership that
numbered in the twenties gained official recognition by being accepted as a
registered body, under the Societies Ordinance, 1949. Subsequently E S Thomas
was elected the first chairman of the Association. While serving as chairman in
1961, his civil service career saw him hold the esteemed post of Comptroller of
Inland Revenue, Federation of Malaya. The Association in its formative years
benefited immensely from his wide exposure and strong linkages to the
government and administrative circles of the day, a tradition that MAICSA
maintains to this day.
Lee Hee Seng took over the chairmanship from E S Thomas in 1962 and served his term
of two years, painstakingly building upon the work of his predecessor. Prior to
his move to Kuala Lumpur and his involvement in the Association, Lee was
actively involved in the administration and activities of the Singapore
Association of the Chartered Institute of Secretaries. The continuity and
vision so vital to fledgling associations were well served by these pioneers.
In 1964, J G Menzies took over the leadership to become the
third chairman of the Association. Menzies brought to the Association a wealth
of invaluable financial experience accumulated in the course of a career in
finance that spanned both Australia and Malaysia. With his appointment as
Deputy Governor of Bank Negara Malaysia in 1962, he enjoyed the distinction of
holding one of the most senior financial positions in the country.
When Menzies completed his term of office in 1965, Lee Hee Seng
was again elected the Association’s chairman for the second time to steer
MAICSA's quest for due recognition.
The following year saw a historic watershed in the affairs of
the Association. Tan Sri Dato’ Azman Hashim was elected Chairman and become the
first Malaysian to head the Association. As an infant organisation, the
Association could not afford to have its own premises and had to operate from
the offices of its elected officials. Fortunately, they were sufficiently
imbued with the spirit of maintaining substance over cycle, and meetings of the
Management Committee of the Association were often held at the premises of
Azman, Wong, Salleh & Co. in the offices of Tan Sri Dato’ Azman Hashim who
was then a partner of the firm.
In 1969, Abas Mohamad who was with Abas & Co. Chartered Accountants took over
the chairmanship for a one-year term. He relinquished the leadership of the
Association on moving his accountancy practice to Johor Bahru in January 1970.
Tan Sri Dato’ Azman Hashim assumed the position of Chairman again and held this
position for four continuous years from 1970 to 1973. He served the Association
with distinction, paving the way for greater recognition of the ICSA
qualification within the ranks of both the government and private sector.