I set out a case update on the Federal Court decision of Tee Siew Kai v Machang Indah Development Sdn Bhd (see the Grounds of Judgment dated 17 February 2020). The decision is on the law applicable to the grant of leave to sue a liquidator in his personal capacity. This decision reverses the Court of Appeal decision in Tee Siew Kai (as liquidator for Merger Acceptance Sdn Bhd) (in liquidation) v Machang Indah Development Sdn Bhd (in liquidation) (previously known as Rakyat Corp Sdn Bhd  2 MLJ 514.
This decision reiterates the importance of leave of the Court in order to avoid wasteful litigation against liquidators and to preclude unwarranted interference with the winding up process. There must be a prima facie case made out, the Court must evaluate the evidence to see if this has been met, and pecuniary loss suffered by the company must be shown. Continue reading →
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 →
The Malaysian Courts continue to tackle the issue of the effect of an arbitration agreement on the litigant’s ability to present a winding up petition based on a debt. This is in the context of a purported debt arising from a contract containing the arbitration clause. There have been conflicting High Court decisions on this point, especially on the issue of whether the Court can stay the winding up pursuant to section 10 of the Arbitration Act 2005 (AA 2005).
The recent High Court decision in Awangsa Bina Sdn Bhd v Mayland Avenue Sdn Bhd (Grounds of Judgment dated 2 May 2019) decided that it would not stay the winding up proceedings under the AA 2005. Nonetheless, the Court agreed with the authorities from the UK, Singapore and Hong Kong to apply the test of whether there is a prima facie dispute of the debt. Since there was, the winding up petition was dismissed. The decision provides a useful summary of the cases in Malaysia and other jurisdictions. Continue reading →
Abandoned housing projects still occur in Malaysia. From 2009 to 2016, it was reported that there were 225 abandoned housing projects affecting more than 40,000 house buyers. In the worst case scenario, the housing developer may go bust and will get wound up. A liquidator is then appointed over the company.
In such a scenario, the liquidator may play a crucial role in reviving the abandoned housing project. The liquidator may be able to obtain funding from a white knight investor, or with help from the relevant ministry, the Ministry of Urban Wellbeing, Housing and Local Government.
However, the liquidator may face a conflict between two competing roles. Firstly, a liquidator undertakes duties and obligations under the Companies Act 1965 (and also under the new Companies Act 2016 when it comes into force). The liquidator’s role is to sell off the assets of the wound up company and distribute the monies to the creditors. Secondly, in an abandoned housing development, the liquidator may attempt to revive the project and to effectively carry on the duties of a housing developer, raise funds, and to collect money.
A recent Court of Appeal decision may cast some doubt on permitting a liquidator to revive an abandoned housing project.
[This post has since been updated as at 14 January 2020 to take into account the current law under the Companies Act 2016.]
The winding up of a company is the process of bringing an end to a company. The company’s assets are sold off and then used to pay off the company’s debts. Any excess proceeds are then returned to the shareholders of the company.
Here, I will give a brief overview of winding up law in Malaysia. We will start with getting our terminology right.
Mind Your Language: Winding Up, Not Bankruptcy
In getting our terminology right, we should refer to the term ‘winding up’ or even ‘liquidation’ when referring to this process of winding up a company. In Malaysia (and a few other jurisdictions like Singapore, the UK and Australia), these are the correct terms to be used. In contrast, in Malaysia at least, the term ‘bankruptcy’ is for individuals and where an individual may be adjudged bankrupt. Continue reading →