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Financial disclosure practices among Malaysian local authorities: a case study

Neilson Anak Teruki (Department of Social Science, Faculty of Agriculture and Food Sciences, Universiti Putra Malaysia Bintulu Campus, Bintulu, Malaysia)
Robert Ochoki Nyamori (College of Business, Abu Dhabi University, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates)
Kamran Ahmed (Department of Accounting, College of Arts Social Sciences and Commerce, La Trobe University, Bundoora, Australia)

International Journal of Public Sector Management

ISSN: 0951-3558

Article publication date: 4 June 2018

Issue publication date: 7 January 2019




The purpose of this paper is to understand and explain the financial disclosure processes among Malaysian local authorities (MLAs).


Employing semi-structured interviews, data were collected from 26 members in five case study organisations, and interpreted using Gibbins et al. (1990, 1992) framework of financial disclosure.


The study finds that financial disclosure is influenced by a hierarchical structure consisting of accountants, the Financial Accounts Committee, the mayor and other managers. The decision to disclose or not disclose was influenced by how sensitive the issue was. External auditors and mediators influenced both the identification of issues, disclosure position and disclosure output. Though there are many laws governing financial accounting, MLAs opportunistically chose to apply the Federal Treasury Circular largely because the external auditors used it.

Research limitations/implications

This study contributes to the literature by illuminating who makes disclosure decisions, what influences these decisions and how. The study reveals hitherto un-researched contextual factors that affect disclosure, namely, religion and external auditors and the opportunistic choice of which laws and regulations to apply in financial disclosure. Future studies might want to apply this approach in other contexts to see what we can learn from them.


Using case studies in the study of financial disclosure provided valuable insights into the complex and multi-dimensional phenomenon of financial information disclosure. The application of Gibbins et al. (1990, 1992) framework in the public sector and in Malaysia is novel.



The authors thank Manzurul Alam, Janet Lee, Menga Negash, Zahirul Hoque and participants at the AFAANZ Conference in Perth, two anonymous reviewers and the Editor of this journal, Sandra van Thiel for their comments which have improved the paper.


Teruki, N.A., Nyamori, R.O. and Ahmed, K. (2019), "Financial disclosure practices among Malaysian local authorities: a case study", International Journal of Public Sector Management, Vol. 32 No. 1, pp. 42-64.



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