8 Observations on the Proposed Guidelines on Beneficial Ownership of Companies

On 8 November 2019, the Companies Commission of Malaysia (or SSM, being its abbreviation in Malay) issued its Consultation Document for the Guidelines for the Reporting Framework for Beneficial Ownership of Legal Persons. SSM has invited any comments by 4 December 2019.

Credit: corporatecomplianceinsights.com

I had written earlier about the global trends for the need for transparency in beneficial ownership details and also the existing Malaysian position in the Companies Act 2016.

Once these proposed guidelines on beneficial ownership are brought into force, they will bring much certainty in terms of the disclosure obligations on the part of companies, limited liability partnerships and businesses in general. This is a good step in strengthening the need for disclosure on beneficial ownership.

In the first part of this post, I highlight some of the salient changes being proposed for companies specifically. In the second part, I then set out 8 of my observations on the proposed guidelines in relation to companies. Continue reading

Companies Commission of Malaysia FAQ: Voting on Preference Shares and Single-Member Public Company Meetings

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.

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Case Update: Malaysian Court Recognises Universal Succession and Transmission of Shares by Operation of Law

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.

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Seven Key Changes of the Companies Amendment Bill 2019

The Companies Amendment Bill 2019 was tabled for First Reading before the Dewan Rakyat (i.e. the House of Representatives) on 8 July 2019.The amendment Bill was passed by the Dewan Rakyat on 10 July 2019 and by the Dewan Negara (i.e. the Senate) on 31 July 2019.

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

I had earlier written about the possible uncertainty of validity of signed documents under section 66 of the CA 2016. Would all documents executed on behalf of the company require at least one director to sign that document? Under the CA 2016, the term document meant a document referred to under the Evidence Act. Continue reading

Speaking in Kota Kinabalu on Winding Up of Companies on 20 June 2019

On 20 June 2019, I will be speaking at the Companies Commission of Malaysia Training Academy (COMTRAC) session on Cessation of Companies and Limited Liability Partnerships. This one-day seminar is held in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah. You can still sign up for the seminar, and with the registration fee at RM500 or discounted to RM400 for licensed secretarties, and for members of MAICSA, MIA, the Malaysian Bar, MACS, MICPA, Sabah Law Association and the Advocates Association of Sarawak.

My co-speaker is Puan Norhaslinda Salleh. She is the Head of Insolvency in the Registration Services Division, Companies Commission of Malaysia. Continue reading