Institutes – ACCA in #32m Malaysian exam row

ACCA has become embroiled in a complex RM200m (#32m) Malaysian courtg. dispute over the alleged plagiarisation of examination questions.

The association is being sued for the sum by a Malaysian businessman, Dato Lau Ban Tin, who claims that, in 1997, ACCA copied exam questions from the Malaysian Association of Certified Public Accountants.

ACCA has filed a counter-claim against another Malaysian body, the Malaysian Institute of Accountants. The two bodies entered into an agreement to operate a joint examination scheme in 1995.

The case is expected to be heard at the Malaysian High Court in the near future.

Lau enrolled as an ACCA student in 1976 and was working through the body’s exam syllabus. He claims that, during this process, he discovered exam questions in ACCA’s June 1997 tax questions were copied from the Malaysian Institute of Certified Public Accountants.

He says ACCA failed to take immediate steps to annul or nullify the exams in question, and failed to respond positively to his demand for an apology.

ACCA disputes the claim and says it will contest it vigorously. Its counter-claim against the Malaysian Institute of Accountants seeks full indemnification for any damages and costs suffered as a result of the case, or a contribution of half any damages and costs suffered.

The association also claims that the examiner who set the questions was nominated by the Malaysian Institute of Accountants.

Association chief executive Anthea Rose wrote to the institute in July 1997 expressing her ‘regret’ at the incident. Rose declined to comment this week.

ACCA has launched its first worldwide campaign to encourage open debate of the future role of finance in business in order to make its syllabus more relevant.

More than 10,000 chief executives, chief financial officers and other main board directors have been sent a document to encourage directors to challenge conventional thinking which will be used as a basis for ACCA’s future training. Rose said the findings would influence its syllabus review.

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