Case Update: The MARA Decision on Appointment of Directors and Management Review

The High Court decision in Majlis Amanah Rakyat (MARA) v Dato’ Abd Rahim Adb Halim & Ors [2018] 8 CLJ 738; [2018] MLJU 1008 touched on some important points on the appointment of directors. It is also the first decision to briefly deal with the new right of management review under section 195 of the Companies Act 2016 (CA 2016).

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This dispute arose from the boardroom and shareholder tussle where MARA had requisitioned for an EGM of the company, Med-Bumikar. Med-Bumikar held a substantial stake in the listed entity, MBM Resources Bhd (MBMR). UMW had tabled an offer to purchase Med-Bumikar’s stake in MBMR. The crown jewel at the heart of the dispute was essentially MBMR’s 20% stake in Perodua. UMW already had approximately 38% interest in Perodua and this would allow UMW to have control over Perodua. Continue reading

Shareholders’ Agreement to Appoint a Director: Not an Absolute Right

Shareholders’ agreements and joint venture agreements usually contain provisions that allow for a shareholder to appoint a certain number of directors to the Board of the company. This allows for the balancing of the rights and commercial interests of the shareholders. For example, a minority shareholder may want to ensure that there is a guaranteed minimum Board representation that the minority shareholder can have.

The question is whether this contractual right to appoint a director is an absolute right and what is the legal nature of this power to appoint a director. Could there be situations where the board of directors will refuse to recognise the appointment of a director under a shareholders’ agreement? How is this interpreted in Malaysia under the Companies Act 2016?

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Bankruptcy and Directors: Vacating Seat and Potential Illegality

There can be legal repercussions to a company when one of its directors is adjudged bankrupt. It is common in the constitution or articles of association to provide that the office of the director will become vacant if the director becomes bankrupt. I set out below three interesting legal issues that arise from bankruptcy and directors.

First, I will deal with the potential adverse impact of bankruptcy on directors’ resolutions and legal proceedings. This in light of the recent Court of Appeal decision in Sazean Engineering & Construction Sdn Bhd v Bumi Bersatu Resources Sdn Bhd [2018] 5 AMR 443; [2018] MLJU 839. This decision was under the Companies Act 1965 (CA 1965). Secondly, I interpret these issues in light of the Companies Act 2016 (CA 2016). Thirdly, potential ways to overcome such arguments. Continue reading

Case Update: Federal Court Decides on Extent of Directors’ Duties – Key Lessons for Directors

The Federal Court issued its grounds of judgment in the Tengku Dato’ Ibrahim Petra bin Tengku Indra Petra v Petra Perdana Berhad case. This is a significant decision explaining the scope of directors’ duties. It gives guidance on when a director acts in the best interest of the company and the discretion afforded to a director when the director makes a business judgment.

This case update will set out the brief background facts of the case and the legal principles that were decided by the Federal Court.  I also set out the key takeaways and points that directors should take note of. Continue reading

MAICSA Annual Conference 2017: Three Questions Raised

On 12 September 2017, I was invited to be a speaker at the MAICSA Annual Conference 2017. This was on the Plenary Session 2 on Companies Act 2016 – Key Insights and Implications for Directors/Shareholders. It was moderated by my co-author and chartered secretary, Kenneth Foo.

Having delivered my presentation, there were interesting questions from the floor as well as through my interactions with the audience members. I thought it would be useful to highlight 3 of the questions I received. They are an indication of the issues still concerning practitioners and companies . Continue reading