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1971 - 1980 : Towards Statutory Recognition of the ICSA Qualification  print
In so many ways the growth and development of the Association parallels the dynamic growth of the nation. Throughout the 1960s, the country witnessed a dynamic progression from a ‘tin and rubber economy’ to one that was increasingly successful in attracting foreign direct investment to fuel an industrialisation programme that saw a proliferation of new industries and new business entities. The need for quality human resources and skills had to keep pace in tandem with the overall economic climate of change and dynamism. In response, the Association began to make concerted efforts in 1971 to pursue government recognition for the ICSA qualification. Tan Sri Dato’ Azman Hashim who was MAICSA Chairman at the time directly appealed to the Government to seriously consider granting due recognition to the ICSA qualification as representing a body of knowledge sufficiently distinct to merit professional status. He made these pertinent and cogent remarks in his speech at the Annual Dinner held in August 1971:

"the chartered secretaries have contributed to the industrial development of Malaysia and will continue to do so, ....the Government is encouraging more people to become qualified professionals. It would be appropriate that the qualifications of chartered secretaries be recognised."

There were then 150 qualified chartered secretaries and 350 student members registered with the Association, the majority of whom came from the MARA Institute of Technology (ITM). In October 1971, the Association made its first concrete move to lobby for recognition status. Letters were sent to ICSA London and ICSA Singapore to obtain copies of their submissions to their respective Governments for recognition of granting degree status for the ICSA qualification. In the following year, the Association held further talks with the then Director of ITM, Tan Sri Dato' Dr Arshad Ayub, to strengthen its case. This finally led to the presentation of the Association’s report on recognition of the ICSA qualification, then called CIS or Chartered Institute of Secretaries qualification, to Datuk Abdullah Ayub, who was then the Director-General of the Public Services Department (PSD). These were the initial manoeuvres. The battle had yet to be won.

With even greater conviction and purpose, the Association continued to pursue the issue of recognition under the chairmanship of Dato’ Salleh Yusof. At last the efforts of the years past bore fruit when the PSD finally granted recognition status of the ICSA qualification via its letter dated 7 October 1974 declaring that the qualifications of Licentiates of ICSA were equivalent to a General Degree/Pass Degree from a local university. The historic event had finally come to pass and with this recognition, the Association was poised to play an ever increasing role in the corporate life of the nation.

With this achievement in hand, the Association began to immediately strive for an increase in its membership. To increase awareness of its role in promoting the profession of the company secretary, on 16 August 1974 the Association published and circulated the maiden issue of its quarterly Newsletter free of charge among members and students in Malaysia. The Chairman, Dato’ Salleh Yusof, also extended a copy of the newsletter to the Institute’s Secretary, Mr J E Phillips, with a request to publish some of the Association’s articles and other news from this region in the ICSA journal Professional Administration. The purpose of this bold initiative was to attract potential members as part of its drive to increase membership and consequently develop a large pool of professionals to serve both the private and public sectors of a rapidly developing nation. Truly, a journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step. Over the years the Association would be instrumental in publishing and launching a steady stream of literature related to the profession.

The Management Committee of the Association agreed at its meeting on 27 February 1976 to set up a Secretariat to better serve an ever increasing list of members and students. On 13 June 1976 a resolution was passed at the Association’s Extraordinary General Meeting for the change of name of the Association from The Malaysian Association of the Chartered Institute of Secretaries to The Malaysian Association of The Institute of Chartered Secretaries and Administrators. The change was in line with the adoption of a new name by the UK Institute, The Institute of Chartered Secretaries and Administrators and in due recognition of the growing strength of the Malaysian chapter.

Meanwhile the Association continued to operate from the offices of the members of its Management Committee in Kuala Lumpur, a privilege so generously accorded to the Association. That the meetings were held at different locations clearly reflected the need for the growing Association to have a fixed abode from which to coordinate and pursue the aims and objectives of all its members.

The decision to set up the Secretariat with full time staff was made on completion of a feasibility study initiated by the Association in 1975. The study which evaluated the setting up of a Secretariat with full time staff was compiled in a report entitled, 'Establishing a MACIS Secretariat'. The main concern was the absence of a full time officer to service members and students and to cope with the ever increasing activities of the Association. Further, it was felt that administrative inadequacy unless overcome would seriously hamper the Association’s efforts to provide better services to members and to attract new members. The lack of a secretariat was considered an impediment to achieving a more dynamic role for MACIS and for enhancing its image.

After careful consideration and deliberation, the Management Committee decided to set up the Secretariat and to employ full time staff. Subsequently a Sub-Committee headed by the then chairman, Mohd Yusof Bador, was formed to study the Secretariat’s needs to ensure its success as the administrative and focal centre of the Association’s efforts to make the profession of the company secretary an indispensable aspect and attribute of the Malaysian corporate scene.

The first full-time clerk reported for duty on 1st October 1976. The Association's records also showed that the Secretariat had officially moved from its borrowed premises at Sim Lim Building in Kuala Lumpur to its own rented office in Wisma MPI in 1977. After eighteen years the Association finally had a home reflecting an ever wider acceptance of its professional status.