The Companies Commission of Malaysia (SSM, being the Malay abbreviation) maintains a useful FAQ page on the Companies Act 2016 (CA 2016) and other transitional issues. This page is updated from time to time. The FAQ is stated as being for general reference. The document does not have legal force. The issues and answers may ultimately have to be tested in the courts.
I touch on two recent updates as at 7 August 2019 dealing with voting on preference shares and meetings of a single-member public company.
The High Court in its grounds of judgment dated 5 August 2019 in the case of United Renewable Energy Co Ltd v TS Solartech Sdn Bhd. This is the first Malaysian decision to recognise the doctrine of universal succession. The Court gave effect to the transmission of shares by operation of law where there has been a foreign merger. This is a matter where I successfully acted for the applicant company.
The High Court granted a declaration that the foreign merger of the Taiwanese companies in question had carried into effect a transmission of shares held in a Malaysian company by operation of law. Further, the High Court allowed a rectification of the register of members of the Malaysian company to reflect the name of the successor entity.
There is already an existing provision in the Companies Act 2016 (CA 2016) that deals with beneficial ownership. But perhaps, it does not go far enough.
It is important to identify the beneficial owner of a legal entity such as a company, a trust or a partnership. This will ensure tax transparency, and help to fight against tax evasion and financial crimes such as money laundering or terrorism financing. The true controllers of companies will be brought out of the shadows.
I set out some global trends, and I explain the existing Malaysian provision under the Companies Act 2016 (CA 2016) and the possible direction going forward.
The amendment Bill will make amendments to the Companies Act 2016 (CA 2016). I have since updated this article to take into account the Parliamentary debate of the amendment Bill.
I highlight seven of the more significant amendments. There will be welcome clarification of the effect of section 66 on the execution of what sort of documents, as well as the redemption of preference shares out of capital. But I can see issues relating to the appointment of receivers or receivers and managers after liquidation. There is a severe dilution of the ability to apply for judicial management.
#1: Section 66 to Only to Apply to Specific Types of Documents