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Business Ethics for Malaysian Companies

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Business ethics are a set of moral values and corporate standards of conduct in any business organisation. Business ethics are demonstrated both as written and unwritten codes of moral standards that are critical to the current activities and future aspirations of a business organisation.

In simpler terms, business ethics basically represent the organisation’s codes of corporate governance. It requires the morality standards and behavioural patterns expected of the individuals and business as a whole. Business ethics is more than just a concept used to enhance the image of a corporation; ethics are the very foundation of success which should be applied from the very beginning a firm starts its operation……

The subject of ethics is often considered abstract (existing in thought or as an idea but not having a physical or concrete existence) by those who believe that rules do not always apply to them. Fact is rules and laws apply to everyone, as do standards of right and wrong behaviour. Each individual’s actions within the company affects both the individual and the entire organisation. When an employee acts ethically and responsibly, it helps the entire organisation to maintain a healthy reputation. It is most unfortunate when some employees in the upper levels of the corporate ladder decide to act unethically, but it is a fact of business and of life. For this reason, it is crucial for a business to be vigilant and rigorous in promoting an employee to a higher position in order to uphold positive and practicing good values in doing business.


The Malaysian Business Code of Ethics (Rukun Niaga)

In line with the importance of practicing good ethics in business, the Ministry of Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs had released a bookentitled “Code of Ethics for Malaysian Business.” The goal of publishing this book to the public is to encourage ethical business practices in Malaysia.

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The legislation of this Malaysian Business Code of Ethics is based on the teachings of religions, philosophy and tradition of the plural society in Malaysia. It is an initiative by the National Consumer’s Protection Consultative Council and Ministry of Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs to develop self-regulation among traders in Malaysia.

The Malaysian Business Code of Ethics was formulated with the objectives of:

·         Preparing the main principles to be applied by all traders for the benefit of consumers as well as traders;

·         Assisting traders in practising a high standard of business ethics among themselves to safeguard the interests of all parties in order to boost the national economic growth; and

·         Representing the universal values gleaned from the doctrines and beliefs of the various religions, philosophies and cultures found within Malaysia.

To achieve this means, six (6) principles of The Malaysian Business Code of Ethics (Rukun Niaga) have been established as follows:

1.         Honesty in Business Dealing

The tendency of a businessperson towards honesty including the intent and declaration of the business transaction as well as in his thoughts, action and speech.

For instance: The businessperson should not try to cover-up the defect found on the product for the sake of making a profit. Similarly he should not purposely manipulate the supply of an item with undue profit as the motive.

2.         Responsible Towards Customers, Society and Environment

Responsible towards the customers, society and the environment for every action and decision made.

For instance: Offering products at fair prices and ensuring that services offered are equal with the quality of services provided. It is important that goods or services befittingly sold/offered must not be socially or environmentally detrimental.

3.       Geniality Towards Fellow Humans

Compassionate and respectful towards other humans, courteous and generous with mutual cooperation. Actions and decisions taken must take into account the interest of all parties and not solely on the interest of the trader.

For instance: In instances when a customer had made an error purchase, and wishes to exchange it with other items or wants a refund in cash, the trader must accommodate the request to fulfil the social responsibility towards the society as a whole.

4.       Moderation In Business Dealing

Adopt a humble, reserved, modest, moderate, charitable approach and be frugal in all areas of life.

For instance: A successful businessperson should be mindful and considerate as well as provide contribution and be supportive to those in need. 

5.       Fair Treatment of Customers

There should not be double standards and actions taken must not benefit one party only, equitable treatment irrespective of race, class or status and is not selective of any one side more than the other should be practised.

For instance: A businessperson should not practise discrimination amongst customers, regardless whether the customer is a dignitary or an ordinary person in business practices, as the value of the money is still the same.

6.         Zeal in Making the Business a Success

Execute something with tenacity, diligence and patience, as well as never giving up, having the courage to take risks and ready to put the utmost efforts to achieve the goals.

For instance: When entering a business field, the businessperson should not be intimidated by existing businesses, what is important is how the success of other businesses could be a motivation for success.


The Rukun Niaga Malaysia should be adopted as a good principle and guidance for all businesses in Malaysia. By practicing this Rukun Niaga, companies and businesses in Malaysia are poised to achieve positive impact in cultivating business integrity in line with the aspirations of Pelan Integriti Nasional (PIN).

For further information on business ethics, please click on the link





Last modified on Tuesday, 04 September 2018 16:50

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