Largest Law Firms in Malaysia: Domestic and Foreign Firms

The year 2018 saw some mergers and consolidation among the larger Malaysian law firms in Kuala Lumpur. Other firms have seen organic growth and has started to overtake other established large firms in terms of number. The foreign law firms, Herbert Smith Freehills and Trowers & Hamlins, also appear to be slowly boosting their headcount in Malaysia. It also remains to be seen whether the Dentons combination with Zain & Co will lead to a bigger Dentons’ presence in Malaysia.

Here, we rank the size of the largest Malaysian law firms. We first cover the domestic firms and then make some observations on the foreign firms. The headcount is based on the Malaysian Bar directory listing at the time of writing. All images are from the firms’ website and the number of partners are also based from the firm’s website. Continue reading

Case Update: Federal Court Rules on Scope of An International Arbitration under Malaysia’s Arbitration Act 2005

In its recent grounds of judgment dated 31 October 2018, the Federal Court in the Jan De Nul decision clarified the effect of an international arbitration and the applicability of certain provisions of the Arbitration Act 2005 (AA 2005). The Federal Court also overruled the decision in the Court of Appeal AJWA case. The dispute gave rise to two separate appeals, one in relation to section 42 of the AA 2005 and another relating to the setting aside under section 37 of the AA 2005. This decision only deals with the section 42 aspect.

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World Bank Doing Business 2019 – Malaysia’s Improved Insolvency Ranking

In the recent World Bank Doing Business 2019 report, Malaysia has improved its rankings from 24th up to 15th in the world. This confirms Malaysia’s place within the top-20 countries for business regulations and ease of doing business.

In particular, Malaysia has made significant improvement in one of the World Bank metrices, being Resolving Insolvency. As seen from the Doing Business 2016 – 2018 reports, Malaysia’s Resolving Insolvency rankings were between 45th and 46th. For the recent 2019 report, Malaysia has improved its global insolvency rankings to 41st position. Continue reading

Selangor Properties Berhad: Proposed Selective Capital Reduction

I read in the news about the proposed selective capital reduction exercise for the listed company Selangor Properties Berhad. The major 68.2% shareholder of Selangor Properties proposes to privatise the company and allow the remaining 31.8% shareholders to exit the company with a pay-out of RM5.70 per share.

I read the announcement dated 25 October 2018. I was interested to see that the proposed mechanism for the selective capital reduction will be by way of a court order under section 116 of the Companies Act 2016. This is instead of the alternative route of using the solvency statement. Continue reading

Shareholder Oppression: A Personal Wrong or a Corporate Wrong?

Lee Shih and Joyce Lim discuss the effect of the Singapore Court of Appeal’s decision in the Sakae Holdings case. This article was originally published in Skrine’s Legal Insights Issue 03/2018.

In the recent case of Ho Yew Kong v Sakae Holdings Ltd [2018] SGCA 33 (“Sakae Holdings”), the Singapore Court of Appeal had the opportunity to clarify the distinction between personal wrongs committed against shareholders of a company and corporate wrongs against the company. This distinction directly relates to the question of whether the appropriate relief in each respective scenario would be by way of an oppression action or a statutory derivative action.

ST Photo. Image from the Business Times Singapore.

The Singapore Court of Appeal set out a framework to determine whether an aggrieved shareholder could maintain an oppression action or ought to have pursued a statutory derivative action instead. Continue reading