I read the news on the Companies Commission of Malaysia charging NWP Holdings Bhd for its failure to obtain shareholders’ approval for directors’ fees. This failure was for two financial years of 2017 and 2018. This charge relates to section 230 of the Companies Act 2016 (CA 2016), being a new provision requiring shareholders in a general meeting to approve the fees of the directors. Essentially, the shareholders having a say on the directors’ pay. This is the first reported prosecution involving this section. Continue reading
In Tan Keen Keong @ Tan Kean Keong v Tan Eng Hong Paper & Stationery Sdn Bhd & Ors and other appeals  MLJU 2204 (grounds of judgment dated 17 December 2020), the Federal Court dealt with an important question of law for a just and equitable winding up.
What is the threshold for winding up a company based on allegations of illegality or breach of statute? Continue reading
The High Court decision in Gue See Sew & 2 others v Heng Tang Hai & 2 others (see the Grounds of Judgment dated 2 January 2020 and at Gue See Sew & Ors v Heng Tang Hai & Ors  MLJU 46) deals with important legal issues on whether a beneficial owner of shares can initiate an oppression action and whether breaches of a shareholders’ agreement can be grounds for oppression.
One of the aims of the Companies Act 2016 is to strengthen shareholders’ rights. I anticipate further avenues for shareholders, in particular minority shareholders, to ensure that their rights are protected.
I set out below 7 changes to shareholders’ rights and remedies. In particular, some of these changes will likely lead to more shareholder litigation. This will test the exact limits of the new laws. For consistent reference, I will be referring to the term ‘shareholder’ and not to the term member of the company. Continue reading
After my earlier introduction and summary of the new Companies Bill, I will be writing a series of articles on the new Companies Bill. I aim to release an article every few weeks or so, touching on the different areas of the new law. For ease of reference, I will continue to refer to it as the Companies Bill and insert the clause references in brackets.
I kick off this series by focusing on 3 things existing companies should already look out for under the Companies Bill. While the Companies Bill may only come into force in the next 6-12 months or so, I highlight 3 areas companies should start preparing for right now.
In summary, these 3 areas are:
- Your existing Memorandum and Articles of Association: Do you need to fine-tune the provisions?
- The new law will shift to a no-par value regime: Impact on your existing share premium account.
- Putting in place checklists and guidelines for the new internal processes.
Within the corporate sphere, there is an ever-present tension between majority rule, where the majority shareholders are allowed to dominate the decision-making process, and that of protection of minority shareholders. Where majority rule is abused and is wielded in the majority’s self-interest rather than the interest of the company, then the minority shareholder may be able to seek court intervention for relief.
I have always found this area of company law fascinating and I will be writing more on this in future. This article will serve as a primer on some of the forms of shareholder remedies, especially in a Malaysian context.