Rebeca Grynspan: Remarks to the Ministry of Finance, Malaysia

18 Jul 2011

Joint announcement by the Government of Malaysia and the United Nations Development Programme on the Establishment of the UNDP Global Shared Service Centre on International Public Sector Accounting Standards (IPSAS)

United Nations Undersecretary General and Associate Administrator, United Nations Development Programme

Ministry of Finance, Putrajaya, Malaysia

•    Yang Berbahagia Tan Sri Wan Abdul Aziz bin Wan Abdullah, Secretary General to the Treasury, Ministry of Finance Malaysia
•    Yang Berbahagia Datuk Wan Selamah Wan Sulaiman, Accountant General Malaysia
•    [Ambassador Selwyn Das, Deputy Secretary General II, Ministry of Foreign Affairs] Malaysia
•    Senior Officials of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Economic Planning Unit, Prime Minister’s Department
•    Mr. Kamal Malhotra, United Nations Resident Coordinator and United Nations Resident Representative for Malaysia, Singapore and Brunei Darussalam
•    Ambassadors and members of the diplomatic community in Malaysia

Excellencies,
Distinguished Guests;
Members of the Media;

I am very pleased to personally convey the United Nations Development Programme’s sincerest thanks to the Government of Malaysia and the Ministry of Finance for their kind agreement to host the UNDP Global Shared Services Centre (GSSC) for International Public Sector Accounting Standards (IPSAS) in Malaysia, and for their generosity in providing host facilities and various other incentives for the establishment of the Centre.

I would also like to extend UNDP’s special thanks to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Economic Planning Unit, at the Prime Minister’s Department who greatly facilitated the government’s approval of this UNDP global centre of excellence in Malaysia.

UNDP’s Organisational Performance Group, which I chair, endorsed Malaysia as the location for the GSSC on 14 January 2011, and approved the costs associated with the establishment of a single global consolidated centre to perform International Public Sector Accounting Standards (IPSAS) related functions and support UNDP Country Offices worldwide in the implementation.

This decision was taken based on an independent study conducted by a reputable consulting firm on optimal possible global locations for the GSSC. The study looked at many factors including infrastructure, skill sets, labour productivity and cost, scalability and sustainability, as well as host government incentives, for locations throughout the world on the basis of stringent criteria

The shortlist included strong competitor UN member states from Latin America,  Eastern Europe and Asia. Malaysia was identified by UNDP as the preferred location from within the final shortlist of global options.

Malaysia was selected by UNDP as the ideal location because of:
•    Malaysia’s long and valued partnership with UNDP.
•    Its well established accounting profession, and skills of its people – in
this case the availability of highly skilled accountancy professionals
•    Its success in establishing other centres of excellence and shared service centres for global firms and organizations
•    The support provided by the Government to attract and retain centres of excellence
•    Its reliable infrastructure

After approval at the highest level of UNDP, a letter was sent by Ms Helen Clark, UNDP Administrator to the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Malaysia in the second week of February, together with UNDP’s proposal to establish a Global Shared Service Centre in Malaysia, Mr. Malhotra, the UNDP Representative was simultaneously asked to initiate discussion on the proposal as soon as possible.  

We received a positive response to Ms Clark’s letter on 16 March, but were advised of pending governmental processes including a Cabinet Decision. We were subsequently informed in May of the Cabinet’s approval of the establishment of the GSSC in Malaysia and its in-principle agreement to provide host facilities and incentives for the Centre through the Accountant General’s Department in the Ministry of Finance which has been designated the executing agency.

As a result of all these efforts, we are all here today to make this important joint announcement. UNDP really appreciates the Malaysian Government’s support fast-tracking the review process, and its generosity which will lead to the establishment of the Centre in Malaysia later this year. We recognise the short timeframe in which today’s joint announcement has been accomplished and want to especially acknowledge this important fact.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

UNDP believes that the establishment of the GSSC in Malaysia will bring many benefits to both the Government of Malaysia and UNDP, and help further strengthen the excellent partnership that already exists between us.

Malaysia has recently identified and prioritized the professional services sector, especially financial services, as one of its most important contributors to the future growth of the Malaysian economy. The growth of this sector is central to Malaysia’s aspirations to achieve Vision 2020 and to become a high income nation by that year. As such, this UNDP GSSC should be viewed as consistent with / and a contribution to Malaysia’s New Economic Model, the 10th Malaysia Plan and the Economic Transformation Programme, all of which were recently announced in 2010. Moreover, an agreement to establish the GSSC in Malaysia is a further sign of the success of Malaysia’s strategy to become a regional and global hub for professional financial services.

UNDP’s Global Shared Service Centre will also directly contribute to Malaysia’s aim of becoming a provider of complex and professional financial services.  The aim of the Global Shared Service Centre is to provide high-value complex accounting services to UNDP’s global operations, providing professional support to development activities in over 176 countries and territories.

In doing so it will rely heavily on connectivity and communications infrastructure, in order to seamlessly support global operations. Over time UNDP may expand the centre of excellence to provide professional services not only to UNDP but also to its global UN and other clients.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

The establishment of the GSSC is a major change for UNDP since Country Offices and HQ Units will now need to rely upon the GSSC as a centre of excellence for its expertise in performing new IPSAS transactions. The GSSC will primarily support new IPSAS workflows for Revenue, Expense and Asset Management.

For UNDP, IPSAS compliance will ensure

•    Improved accountability

•    Greater transparency

•    Greater credibility

•    Improved overall management and planning

•    Improved programme management, and

•    Harmonization of reports and statements across the UN system

Our contributing partners, such as Malaysia, are keenly supportive of IPSAS adoption.  In 2006 they, along with the other countries of the UN General Assembly, passed resolution 60/283, mandating IPSAS adoption by all United Nations bodies.

In conclusion, I would like to thank the Malaysian government once again.

I believe that when the UNDP Global Centre commences its operations in November this year, Malaysia will once more be able to visually showcase its capability to attract and host international and global centres of excellence such as the World Health Organisation Global Service Centre in Cyberjaya, World Food Programme Regional Humanitarian Depot for the Asia-Pacific Region in Subang – and the newest one – the UNDP Global Service Centre on IPSAS!

Thank you very much.