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

Practising Certificates for Company Secretaries: Proposed Regulations

The Companies Commission of Malaysia, or Suruhanjaya Syarikat Malaysia (SSM), will be bringing into force the last remaining provision of the Companies Act 2016 (CA 2016). This is section 241 of the CA 2016 on the requirement for all company secretaries to register with SSM. SSM will issue practising certificates to all company secretaries.

In line with the coming into force of section 241 of the CA 2016, SSM has published  its Consultative Document on the Proposed Companies (Practising Certificate) Regulations 2019. SSM has invited comments on the Consultative Document by 30 October 2018.

I set out a bit of history leading up to this important provision for registration of all company secretaries, and my observations on the Consultative Document. Continue reading

Bankruptcy and Directors: Vacating Seat and Potential Illegality

There can be legal repercussions to a company when one of its directors is adjudged bankrupt. It is common in the constitution or articles of association to provide that the office of the director will become vacant if the director becomes bankrupt. I set out below three interesting legal issues that arise from bankruptcy and directors.

First, I will deal with the potential adverse impact of bankruptcy on directors’ resolutions and legal proceedings. This in light of the recent Court of Appeal decision in Sazean Engineering & Construction Sdn Bhd v Bumi Bersatu Resources Sdn Bhd [2018] 5 AMR 443; [2018] MLJU 839. This decision was under the Companies Act 1965 (CA 1965). Secondly, I interpret these issues in light of the Companies Act 2016 (CA 2016). Thirdly, potential ways to overcome such arguments. Continue reading

IMLC Conference Paper: Navigating the Directors’ Duty to Act in the Best Interest of the Company

On 15 August 2018, I spoke at the International Malaysia Law Conference 2018. I presented my paper on Navigating the Directors’ Duty to Act in the Best Interest of the Company. I have uploaded my paper and you can click on the link.

The paper analysed the Federal Court decision in Tengku Dato’ Ibrahim Petra bin Tengku Indra Petra v Petra Perdana Bhd [2018] 2 MLJ 177, FC, or otherwise known as the Petra Perdana decision. The principle on the division of powers between the directors and shareholders was also compared with the present position under section 195 of the Companies Act 2016. Continue reading

International Malaysia Law Conference 2018: Corporate Responsibilities Fiduciary Obligations

I have been invited to speak at this year’s International Malaysia Law Conference 2018. I will be speaking on Day 2, Breakout Session 4, from 12pm to 1.15pm along with other panellist speakers. The session is titled Corporate Responsibilities: The Place of Fiduciary Obligations.

The Honourable Justice Margaret Beazly AO, President of the New South Wales Court of Appeal, will be the main speaker. Dato’ Anantham Kasinather, retired Court of Appeal Judge, and Dato’ Mohammed Faiz, Executive Chairman of PwC Malaysia, will also be sharing their insights.

Company directors have a fiduciary obligation to always act in the best interest of their company – in accordance with the business judgment rule – and to discharge their directors’ duties in compliance with the law. How should conflicts of duty and interests be dealt with? How does the Malaysian position compare with the position in New South Wales?

Continue reading