External Influences on the Development and Professionalisation of Accounting in Malaysia, 1957-1969
While acknowledging that local factors exert influence, historical literature identifies a general tendency for accounting in developing countries to be dominated by the style of accounting institutions and practices of western developed nations – particularly the USA and UK. This “importation” hypothesis is investigated and further refined through a case study examination of the history of accounting in Malaysia during the formative years of 1957 to 1969. This era commences with the Malay States gaining independence from Britain and closes with the race riots which marked an important turning point in the nation’s history. The establishment of the Malaysian Association of Certified Public Accountants (MACPA) in 1958 and the passing of the Companies Act of 1965 and the Accountants Act of 1967 are identified as key events during this era, and are shown to add credence to the “importation” hypothesis. The legislation and the MACPA replicated UK models, and thereby perpetuated that country’s colonial influence within the new nation. In summary, accounting and its institutional apparatus are depicted as regularising forces which tend to transcend political and social change within a nation state.
Keywords: Accounting Profession, Professionalisation, Malaysia, Colonialism
Teck Heang Lee
Senior Lecturer, Faculty of Accountancy and Management, Universiti Tunku Abdul Rahman