Ethics based governance with Alan Cheah

  1.  We are living in a fast-paced business world where figures dominate, competition is cut-throat accumulating pressures on C level. What could be the new model of ethics based governance to preserve values and achieving profits?


  • The baseline has always been providing values to society. With that, we balance the need for values and the crunch of generating a profit. There is a need to push the boundary within the existing infrastructure, and understand that nothing great is achieved by playing within rules. But only when you are creating value for society.

  • In GoCar from day one, our goal has always been to balance building the business and giving back to our community. To ensure affordable transportation is accessible to anyone who needs it, we reduce our rates for Nissan Almera (from RM89/day to RM69/day) and Renault Captur (from RM189/day to RM129/day) in January 2019 when we achieved the volume needed to activate the new pricing. The rates include insurance, unlimited mileage, roadside assistance, and road tax with no hidden fees. 

  • Transparency is key to building a business. People rally with you when they know your intention is aligned with society.

  • We are able to build and maintain long-term trust among all of our stakeholders such as employees, customers, partners, and the public as we strongly uphold our values.

  • Therefore, be ethical in your business by implementing clarity, transparency, and simplicity in your communication. After all, consumers want to use companies that take care of others and our environment.



  1. What must be done at the policy level to assure an environment with less of power politics and misuse of powers?


  • In GoCar, we practiced 3 core values among the team members which are transparency, clarity, and simplicity. To maintain and ensure every member embraces these values, I as the CEO has to set the example. For example, create an open communication environment among employers and employees without any judgment and no restrictions. In GoCar, my door is always open to any employees whether they are Fleet Assistants, Head of Customer Experience, or even interns. I encourage them to approach me if they want to ask any questions or to share any issues or concerns that they may have via one-on-one/coffee chats. 

  • Power distance is something close to my heart when I planned for the team culture for GoCar. I want it to be known that we are all in this together, the organization is as horizontal as possible. I have always loved the saying in Chinese, “If the King commits a crime, he will be judged like a common criminal”. It really keeps you on your toes as a leader.

  • Another approach that we are practicing is the amoeba management where every employee plays a major role and voluntarily participates in managing the unit, achieving what is known as "Management by All." Each campaign/project will appoint project leaders and resource leaders from each department. In this way, all parties have the chance to become a leader and contribute to the project from their own vertical to ensure the success of the project (the intern can be a project leader, and the team lead can be a resource leader reporting to the intern). 

  • Absolutely, it’s important to instill a positive working environment from the start and be consistent to maintain it especially when you have more than 100 people in your organization. In this way, we are able to reduce any political play in the office and misuse of powers among the heads.



  1. What should be an idle CoBe (Code of conduct and Business ethics) that should be incorporated to sustain Gen Y employees?


  • Gen Y nowadays wants to work in a company that shares the same values and culture as theirs in supporting social causes. They expect proof, be it in CSR efforts, brand positioning, or recruitment efforts. They want to see companies practice what they preach through the solutions they provide to solve social problems.

  • For example, in GoCar we always emphasize on social inclusion in the events that we organized or the product/campaign we launched. It’s all about giving back to the community as much as we can and all of this started because we have team members that share the same values and personally believe in giving back to the community.

  • Next, instill a fair and equitable treatment for all employees in the company to ensure everyone receives equal treatment regardless of their gender, age, position, race, and etc. When equity exists, people have equal access to opportunities and thus encourages employee retention.

  • In short, treat everyone how you would like to be treated, and communicate to everyone how you would like to be communicated. 


  1. Please highlight a few best practices to bridge the gap between senior and aging workforce and gen-next.


  • Mentoring and coaching at the workplace are two of the most important opportunities for Boomers to share their skills and abilities to younger, less experienced employees. In exchange, Boomers will develop digital technology skills and learn to embrace work-life balance from Generation Z and Millennials.

  • Create a company culture of mutual respect for all employees. For example, make sure that every person is included in planning and brainstorming sessions in any project or campaign so that everyone's voice is heard. This will help companies to reach different audiences and see angles that they've not been aware of without different opinions.

  • Lastly, focus on over-communicating and create a safe space for your team to voice their concerns. Your team must understand their voices are heard and there will be actions taken on those voices. But most importantly, create that safe space - first with your immediate layers and have them repeat it like a ripple effect.


  1. Please highlight a successful whistle-blowing policy and its enforcement.

  • Implementing a detailed non-retaliation policy protecting whistleblowers who make reports in good faith (and perhaps dissuading frivolous allegations).

  • Example from GoCar: We have a “Special Complaint Policy” that allows employees and another interested person to report anonymously and confidentially on any questionable practices and internal control breakdown without fear of retaliation. 

  • Back in the days when we were smaller, we had a teammate coming to me directly to report about harassment, and we followed the process accordingly based on the policy. The harasser was asked to leave the company after an investigation, and the teammate that reported the issue is still working with us. The values are the foundation to build the trust we have for each other in #teamGoCar that allows everyone to speak their mind in a space they believe is safe.



  1. In modern corporate age, it's only a certain percent of the workforce comprising female leaders. In a male-dominated world, How to go about encouraging a gender-biased leadership and empowering and encouraging the female workforce to take up c-suite. 

  • Building an equal pipeline for men and women to access key growth positions by creating equal opportunities for skills, experience, and leadership development. In addition, it is important to close the pay gap between both men and women. Salary should be offered on the basis of the performance and capabilities of employees, not on the basis of their gender.

  • Create an inclusive work culture and fight unconscious biases that hold women back by hiring and promoting more diverse candidates, particularly in the role of upper management. Make sure decision-makers undergo unconscious bias training from an early stage to mitigate bias during the performance review process.

  •  A more diverse workforce will naturally lead to a more inclusive culture and women and underrepresented groups are more likely to thrive in such an environment. 

  • I believe in attitude, personality, and mindset above all. In that belief, we have created an ecosystem where everyone is allowed to take a role to demonstrate their contribution to the company as demonstrated by the amoeba management we spoke about earlier. Again, in short, it lies on the leader to lay the foundation for these traits. Else, none of the policies will be effective. Culture, value, and traits must be supported by the leader. That is the reality. 



  • Alan Cheah
    Alan Cheah
    CEO, GoCar, Malaysia

    Alan is currently the Chief Executive Officer at GoCar Malaysia , an on-demand car-sharing platform with over 400 locations in 72 cities across 7 states in Malaysia, and recently the Chief Executive Officer at GoEVcharger, an E-Mobility Operator (EMO) to provide and operate the charging infrastructure for Electric Vehicles (EV). During his time as Chief Operations Officer from April 2016 to September 2017, Alan paved the way for GoCar to be part of the alternative transportation ecosystem as a first-mile / last-mile solution by working with strategic partners and industry players to expand its location network in Klang Valley. This includes placing GoCars at Shell stations, major airports, LRT stations, KTMB stations, hotels, shopping malls, condominiums, office towers, and more. Prior to this, he was the Marketing Director at MaGIC where he led and strategised the digital roadmap to create regional awareness and engagement for MaGIC's brands, programs, and projects across the ASEAN region. Alan was also the lead digital strategist for MaGIC Accelerator Program Cohort 1, MaGIC Academy 2014 & 2015, and e@Stanford Programs in partnership with Stanford University. Apart from work, Alan is frequently sharing thoughts and giving talks as a speaker on personal growth, marketing, entrepreneurship, urban mobility, alternative transportation, and team culture.

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