The rules within the Malaysian Institute of Accountants (Disciplinary) (No.2) Rules 2002 [‘the Disciplinary Rules’] particularly spell out the applicable processes and powers of the Statutory Committees i.e. Investigation Committee, Disciplinary Committee and the Disciplinary Appeal Board of the Institute as established in the Accountants Act 1967, in executing its roles and functions towards upholding and strengthening the enforcement regimes of the Institute in relation to the disciplinary actions against members who are found to have committed an act of unprofessional conduct.  

The term ‘unprofessional conduct’ is defined in Rule 2 of the Disciplinary Rules. Unprofessional conduct means conduct which is discreditable to the accountancy profession and includes gross carelessness, neglect and incapacity in the performance of professional duties, impropriety in professional conduct and conduct unbecoming of an accountant. 

A member is not immune to the disciplinary actions by the Institute. Members of the Institute are required to uphold professional behaviour by complying with the Institute’s By-Laws, relevant laws and regulations applicable to members. Failure to observe the applicable auditing and accounting standards, code of ethics prescribed in the Institute’s By-Laws, failure to adhere to relevant laws and regulations, amongst others, the Companies Act 2016 and the Income Tax Act 1967 will amount to an act of unprofessional conduct as stated above. 

A breach of the Institute’s By-Laws or relevant laws and regulations can constitute for a complaint to be lodged to the Registrar of the Institute in accordance to Rule 3 and 4 of the Disciplinary Rules.¹ 

Rule 9 of the Disciplinary Rules enables the Investigation Committee to refer such a complaint to the Disciplinary Committee if sufficient grounds are found for a disciplinary proceeding to be initiated against a member.

Rule 18(1) of the Disciplinary Rules clearly states that upon a complete due inquiry by the Disciplinary Committee, where a member is found to be guilty of unprofessional conduct, the Disciplinary Committee shall have the powers to impose any one or any combination of the disciplinary punishments specified under Rule 18(3) of the Disciplinary Rules. 

In summary, a member who is found to have breached the Institute’s By-Laws will prima facie give rise to a complaint of unprofessional conduct against the member concerned for failing to observe proper standards of professional conduct as set out in the Institute’s By-laws, relevant laws and regulations. Members are also required to read the Institute’s By-Laws and to keep abreast with all amendments made therein.  

Members must understand that where a member is found guilty of unprofessional conduct, the same will not only lower the dignity of the profession, but also weaken the sense of public confidence towards the profession and affect the good reputation of the profession.

¹ Refer Article entitled: Enforcement Process in the Accountants Today dated 22/12/2020 for more information.  

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