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.
Section 241 of the Companies Act 2016 (CA 2016) has come into force today on 15 March 2019 (see P.U.(B) 138/2019). This is the last provision of the CA 2016 to be brought into force. Under this section, all qualified persons who wish to act as a company secretary must register with the Registrar of Companies.
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.