Malaysian Local Authorities: Are They Transparent?

Radziah Mahmud, Nor Khadijah Mohd Azhari, Rosmini Mohd Aripin, Humayun Kabir, Abongile Zweni


Transparency among the local authorities is crucial as local authorities are expected to perform their stewardship roles to meet the demand of their stakeholders. Due to information asymmetry between the local authorities and citizens, there is a tendency for citizens to have unfavourable perceptions towards local authorities’ activities. Literature suggests that transparent information will mitigate this issue. Thus, the study seeks to investigate the level of transparency of Malaysian local authorities by examining 19 of them covering the periods from 2015 to 2019. Available information from the website and the local authorities annual reports were obtained. Adopting agency theory and stewardship theory, the study suggests that the level of transparency in the form of non-financial information transparency, citizen transparency and transparency easiness among the Malaysian local authorities is regarded to be high. It indicates that the information asymmetry between the local authorities and the stakeholders is generally minimised. However, this study highlights that the transparency level in the form of financial information still needs to be improved, and local authorities should be more transparent in disclosing such information. Besides providing insights into local authorities' transparency, this study is beneficial to local authorities and regulators in establishing policies; and citizens and stakeholders in assessing the transparency level of local authorities. Future research should consider factors that influence transparency among local authorities in Malaysia. A comparison between local authorities should also be made to find the best practices for stimulating transparency in local authorities.

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Copyright (c) 2023 Radziah Mahmud, Nor Khadijah Mohd Azhari, Rosmini Mohd Aripin, Humayun Kabir, Abongile Zweni

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Accounting and Finance Research
ISSN 1927-5986 (Print)   ISSN 1927-5994 (Online) Email:

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