LexTech Conference 2017: “The Future of Law” to prepare regional lawyers for change

We would love to invite to you to join us at #LexTech17, a legal technology conference themed “The Future of Law” organised by Brickfields Asia College and CanLaw, happening in MaGIC Cyberjaya, Malaysia on 4-5 November 2017.

TheMalaysianLawyer.com is a media partner of this conference.

LexTech Poster

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Auditors Face Greater Risk of Conflict under Companies Act 2016

Under the Companies Act 2016 (CA 2016), there has now been a change in the law which may cause auditors to be conflicted or disqualified from a wider range of audit jobs. In particular, this may affect the larger audit firms.

Where an audit firm is appointed as the auditor of the company, every audit partner and now, with change in the law, every audit partner’s spouse cannot be an officer of the company. The CA 2016 defines an officer as including any director, secretary or employee of the company. Hence, an audit firm would appear to be conflicted from acting for a company where the spouse of an audit partner is merely an employee of the company. Continue reading

Case Update: When an employee transfer can amount to a constructive dismissal

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In this Case Update series, I share summaries of recent Malaysian court decisions to explore the current approach taken by the courts when deciding on employment-related issues. You can find all the posts in the series by clicking here, including case updates on other legal areas by TheMalaysianLawyer co-founder Lee Shih.

It is a well-established principle in employment and industrial relations law in Malaysia that the right to transfer an employee is a prerogative of the management which the Industrial Court would rarely interfere with. However, there are factors which may affect an employer’s ability to transfer an employee without consent, including the following:

  • Whether the transfer is between different roles or departments within the same location, or from one branch or location to another, or between different companies within the same Group.
  • Whether the transfer is brought about by bona fide or genuine business reasons.
  • In some cases, the practical effect of the transfer may also be relevant (eg the impact of a change in work location or job functions).

In short, employee transfers are not always straightforward. Transferring an employee without consent may result in a breach of contract or constructive dismissal.

The Industrial Court considered these issues in Ng Bee Yoong v. Capital Development Sdn Bhd (Award No. 186 of 2016).

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SSM National Insolvency Conference 2017: Corporate Restructuring & Insolvency under the Companies Act 2015

On 3 October 2017, the Companies Commission of Malaysia (SSM) is holding the SSM National Insolvency Conference 2017 entitled ‘Corporate Restructuring & Insolvency under Companies Act 2016: A Paradigm Change’. I have been involved in the organising of the sessions and it promises to be a very interesting conference. The registration fee is RM700.

I will be speaking and moderating Session 2 on ‘Corporate Rescue Mechanism: How It Will Work’. Joining me will be Mohamed Sufyan Mohamed Mokhtar from SSM and  Victor Saw of PwC.

Under the Companies Act 2016, the corporate rescue mechanism is made up of corporate voluntary arrangement and judicial management. Although the corporate rescue mechanism provisions have not been brought into force yet, it is anticipated that these provisions will come into effect by May 2018. In the meantime, the new draft Corporate Rescue Mechanism Rules are close to being finalised as well.

In our Session 2, the speakers will be fleshing out the application of the corporate voluntary arrangement and judicial management through factual scenarios. That should assist in seeing the practical implementation of these new mechanisms.

The other topics covered at the National Insolvency Conference are:

  • The World Bank’s Perspective on Debtors’ and Creditors’ Rights.
  • New Guidelines in Striking Off of Companies and Asset Management of Dissolved Companies.
  • Impact of the Companies Act 2016 on Winding Up.
  • What It Takes to Become an Insolvency Practitioner.

The full brochure and registration form can be found here.

 

Case Update: High Court rules entitlement to back wages limited to unexpired duration of fixed-term contract

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In this Case Update series, I share summaries of recent Malaysian court decisions to explore the current approach taken by the courts when deciding on employment-related issues. You can find all the posts in the series by clicking here, including case updates on other legal areas by TheMalaysianLawyer co-founder Lee Shih.

The issue of calculating back wages due to an unfairly dismissed employee has become fairly settled, at least when it comes to the upper limit of the award. The Second Schedule of the Industrial Relations Act states:

1. In the event that backwages are to be given, such backwages shall not exceed 24 months’ backwages from the date of dismissal based on the last-drawn salary of the person who has been dismissed without just cause or excuse.

However, the recent High Court case of Malayan Banking Bhd v. Mahkamah Perusahaan Malaysia & Anor [2017] 2 CLJ 70 considered a unique scenario, where the employee was dismissed while under a probationary period as part of a fixed-term contract. The Second Schedule of the Industrial Relations Act provides the following in respect of probationers:

2. In the case of a probationer who has been dismissed without just cause or excuse, any backwages given shall not exceed 12 months’ backwages from the date of dismissal based on his last-drawn salary.

The applicant (the Employer) applied to the High Court for an order to quash the decision of the first respondent (the Industrial Court). One of the issues that the High Court had to consider in this case (which is the issue we will focus on in this case update) was whether the second respondent (the Employee) should only have been entitled to back wages for the unexpired portion of her fixed-term contract (which was 5 months and 17 days), and not the 12-month maximum provided in the Industrial Relations Act for probationers.

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Case Update: Factors considered when determining whether a resignation is forced or voluntary

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In this Case Update series, I share summaries of recent Malaysian court decisions to explore the current approach taken by the courts when deciding on employment-related issues. You can find all the posts in the series by clicking here, including case updates on other legal areas by TheMalaysianLawyer co-founder Lee Shih.

It is common for employers to opt to negotiate a mutual separation or voluntary resignation when handling a potential dismissal. This could arise where there is a misconduct, unsatisfactory performance, or possible redundancy. Many employers take the view that is better for both parties to sit down and agree on the separation instead of the employer unilaterally exercising its rights under the law and risking a dissatisfied employee bringing an unfair dismissal claim.

However, what happens where an employee resigns following discussions with the employer, and later claims that this resignation was forced, or obtained under duress or pressure from the employer, and therefore that he was in fact unfairly dismissed?

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MAICSA Annual Conference 2017: Three Questions Raised

On 12 September 2017, I was invited to be a speaker at the MAICSA Annual Conference 2017. This was on the Plenary Session 2 on Companies Act 2016 – Key Insights and Implications for Directors/Shareholders. It was moderated by my co-author and chartered secretary, Kenneth Foo.

Having delivered my presentation, there were interesting questions from the floor as well as through my interactions with the audience members. I thought it would be useful to highlight 3 of the questions I received. They are an indication of the issues still concerning practitioners and companies . Continue reading