On 10 April 2020, the Companies Commission of Malaysia (SSM) announced that seven reliefs will be provided to companies in light of the COVID-19 outbreak and Malaysia’s Movement Control Order (MCO). These initiatives are very much welcomed. They range from temporary protection from winding up of companies, extension of time to lodge statutory documents, and an extension of time for the annual general meeting.
With the coronavirus outbreak, Malaysia is now under restricted movement to limit the gathering of people. The Prime Minister announced the movement control order and the associated regulations have been gazetted. This article aims to set out six key issues for companies as they navigate the holding of general meetings.
By way of background, on 16 March 2020, the Registrar of Societies announced that in light of the coronavirus pandemic, all annual general meetings for societies have been banned until 30 June 2020.
Seemingly, on 16 March 2020, the Companies Commission of Malaysia (SSM) had issued a press release to ask all companies to consider all available options for meetings including electronic meetings at multiple venues. Companies would also apply for extension of time to hold its annual general meetings. The link on the SSM website has now gone down so I cannot locate a copy of that press release.
I set out the six possible issues that companies have to take note of in relation to their general meetings.
The High Court issued its grounds of judgment in Safari Alliance Sdn Bhd v Tiger Synergy Berhad (Grounds of Judgment dated 1 March 2020).
The case dealt with the statutory right of a shareholder under section 310(b) of the Companies Act 2016 (CA 2016) to hold a general meeting of the company. This right is especially significant here since the general meeting was to replace the directors of the public-listed company, Tiger Synergy Berhad.
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.