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Poh Ling Ho, Greg Tower, Dulacha Barako



Significant changes and reforms have been initiated around the world and in a Malaysian context with the aim of enhancing corporate governance and transparency. The nature of these regulatory reforms clearly impacted on firm management’s incentives to disclose information voluntarily. This study empirically examines the influence of corporate governance structure on voluntary disclosure practices of Malaysian listed firms from 1996 to 2001. This important timeframe encompasses the time period before the Asian Financial Crisis and the aftermath of regulatory reforms such as the revamped KLSE Listing Requirement released in 2001, widely recognized as a major milestone in Malaysian corporate governance reform through the enhanced corporate disclosure. Our findings show that the extent of voluntary communication is generally low, albeit showing an increase from 1996 to 2001. There is an increase in the number of corporate governance characteristics adopted by firms, suggesting firms exhibiting an improvement in the corporate governance structure. While corporate governance structure is not a significant explanatory variable in 1996, our results suggest that a firm’s corporate governance structure has a significantly positive impact on voluntary disclosure in 2001. Large companies voluntarily disclose more information in both years. The implications are that a greater focus on corporate governance is resulting in an increase in transparency in the Malaysian setting. Corporate change is generating better corporate communication.

Keywords: Corporate Governance, Malaysia, Corporate Disclosure

How to cite this paper: Ho, P. L., Tower, G., Barako, D. (2008). Improving governance leads to improved corporate communication. Corporate Ownership & Control, 5(4), 26-33.