Company Law Case Update: Oppression Remedy in Quasi-Partnerships

Joyce Lim writes on a recent High Court decision on the oppression remedy in quasi-partnerships. Further, the decision confirms that oppression can arise from breaches of a shareholders’ agreement.

The High Court in the recent case of ISM Sendirian Berhad v Queensway Nominees (Asing) Sdn Bhd & Ors and other suits [2020] MLJU 388 dealt with an oppression claim by a minority shareholder in quasi-partnerships (also known as Ebrahimi-type companies).

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UK’s Corporate Insolvency and Governance Bill: Possible Reforms for Malaysia’s Restructuring Laws

In response to COVID-19, the UK has fast-tracked its Corporate Insolvency and Governance Bill (the PDF copy of the Bill is here and with helpful Explanatory Notes). The overarching objective of this Bill is to provide businesses with the breathing space they need to continue trading during this difficult time and to avoid insolvency. I set out seven of the key measures that UK is introducing and the possible reforms that Malaysia can adopt.

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Company in Distress: Insolvency Issues relating to Employees

Under Malaysia’s movement control restrictions and with COVID-19, companies are facing cash-flow issues and financial difficulties. With the employers facing such difficulties, the employees may also face salary cuts (for example, see this news report) or retrenchment. Companies may then slip closer towards financial distress and may have to pursue restructuring and insolvency options. This article sets out the insolvency issues relating to employees.

I set out the different scenarios where a company in distress may pursue a scheme of arrangement, apply for judicial management, end up placed in receivership or is compulsorily wound up. I touch on how these scenarios will affect the rights of employees. Continue reading

Company Law Case Update: Tiger Synergy and the Statutory Right to Hold Shareholder Meetings

The High Court issued its grounds of judgment in Safari Alliance Sdn Bhd v Tiger Synergy Berhad (Grounds of Judgment dated 1 March 2020).

The case dealt with the statutory right of a shareholder under section 310(b) of the Companies Act 2016 (CA 2016) to hold a general meeting of the company. This right is especially significant here since the general meeting was to replace the directors of the public-listed company, Tiger Synergy Berhad.

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Company Law Case Update: Oppression Issues on Beneficial Shareholders and a Shareholders Agreement

The High Court decision in Gue See Sew & 2 others v Heng Tang Hai & 2 others (see the Grounds of Judgment dated 2 January 2020 and at Gue See Sew & Ors v Heng Tang Hai & Ors [2020] MLJU 46) deals with important legal issues on whether a beneficial owner of shares can initiate an oppression action and whether breaches of a shareholders’ agreement can be grounds for oppression.

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Case Update: Federal Court Decides on Issue of Leave to Sue Liquidator Personally

I set out a case update on the Federal Court decision of Tee Siew Kai v Machang Indah Development Sdn Bhd (see the Grounds of Judgment dated 17 February 2020). The decision is on the law applicable to the grant of leave to sue a liquidator in his personal capacity. This decision reverses the Court of Appeal decision in Tee Siew Kai (as liquidator for Merger Acceptance Sdn Bhd) (in liquidation) v Machang Indah Development Sdn Bhd (in liquidation) (previously known as Rakyat Corp Sdn Bhd [2019] 2 MLJ 514.

This decision reiterates the importance of leave of the Court in order to avoid wasteful litigation against liquidators and to preclude unwarranted interference with the winding up process. There must be a prima facie case made out, the Court must evaluate the evidence to see if this has been met, and pecuniary loss suffered by the company must be shown. Continue reading