Coronavirus: Restructuring and Insolvency for Businesses

The coronavirus pandemic gives rise to the major risk of companies and small businesses going insolvent. In this article, I set out the restructuring and corporate rescue options for businesses in Malaysia. For example, companies can pursue the corporate rescue mechanisms under the Companies Act 2016. For small businesses who are sole proprietors, they may face bankruptcy. These individuals consider the voluntary arrangement under the Insolvency Act 1967.

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How to Qualify as a Liquidator in Malaysia

Qualified persons can now apply to be licensed as liquidators, or also known as insolvency practitioners, in Malaysia. This allows for the licence holder to take on appointments as: (i) liquidator; (ii) receiver or receiver and manager; (iii) judicial manager; and (iv) a nominee in a corporate voluntary arrangement.

The Accountant General of Malaysia recently issued its Guidelines for Qualification as Liquidator under the Companies Act 2016 (CA 2016) dated 21 January 2020 (only available in the Malay language). This now allows for qualified persons to apply for a liquidator licence under the CA 2016.

I write about the past qualification route for liquidators under the Companies Act 1965 (CA 1965) and this new qualification regime under the CA 2016. Continue reading

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[edit: The Companies (Amendment) Act 2019 has since come into force on 15 January 2020 as I have written about here.]

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

Upcoming Book: Law and Practice of Corporate Insolvency in Malaysia

Sweet & Maxwell is publishing an upcoming book: Law and Practice of Corporate Insolvency in Malaysia. It will be the first dedicated text in Malaysia covering restructuring and insolvency law. Each chapter is written by a lawyer, an insolvency practitioner or a combination of both. The book should be a good blend of the latest legal developments and practical tips.

The book will cover all the areas of winding up, receivership, schemes of arrangement, corporate voluntary arrangement and judicial management. Continue reading

Restraining Order under a Scheme of Arrangement Must Satisfy Pre-Conditions from the Start

An applicant must meet the statutory pre-conditions for the grant of a moratorium (otherwise known as a restraining order) under Malaysia’s scheme of arrangement even at the initial application stage. This was decided in a recent High Court decision dated 22 April 2019. The Court set aside the initial grant of the restraining order as the applicant companies had not satisfied the pre-conditions at the time of the application. I have since written the case commentary on this decision.

To my knowledge, this is also the first decision on this issue under the new section 368(2) of the Companies Act 2016 (CA 2016). There have been conflicting High Court decisions on this issue when interpreting the predecessor section 176(10A) of the Companies Act 1965 (CA 1965). The full grounds of judgment have not been issued yet.

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Case Update: Court of Appeal on Staying the Dismissal of Judicial Management Application

The Court of Appeal in the Wellcom Communications case has decided on certain significant issues relating to a judicial management application (see the grounds of judgment dated 13 February 2019). This is Malaysia’s first appellate decision relating to judicial management.

In summary, upon the filing of a judicial management application, an automatic moratorium applies. This will stay all legal proceedings from continuing or from being commenced against the applicant company. The Court of Appeal has held that once the judicial management application is dismissed, there cannot be a grant of any stay order to stay the dismissal of the application in order to revive the moratorium effect. Continue reading