Latest updates

Judicial review leave principles reaffirmed as high court dismisses AirAsia's leave application
SKRINE
  • Aviation
  • Malaysia
  • 10 July 2019

The Kuala Lumpur High Court recently dismissed a judicial review leave application brought by AirAsia Berhad and AirAsia X Berhad (collectively, AirAsia) against the Malaysian Aviation Commission, with Malaysia Airports (Sepang) Sdn Bhd being named as the second respondent. AirAsia argued that the passenger service charge rates prescribed in the regulations were ceiling rates rather than fixed rates and, as such, AirAsia was not required to pay the revised amount.

Caveat venditor – has the pendulum swung too far?
Bodipalar Ponnudurai De Silva
  • Company & Commercial
  • Malaysia
  • 08 July 2019

'Caveat emptor' or 'buyer beware' is a familiar concept. The effects and consequences of caveat emptor have been criticised over time and, as a result, commercial law has slowly developed more stringent protection for consumers and buyers. As such, the ramifications of a recent apex court's decision are far reaching. In short, liability can now be imposed on sellers even if the buyer has previously accepted the same product without qualification.

Civil aviation security: new regulations take effect
SKRINE
  • Aviation
  • Malaysia
  • 19 June 2019

The Civil Aviation (Security) Regulations 2019 (Security Regulations) recently entered into force. Among other things, the regulations have established new aviation security authorities, implemented national security programmes and introduced new security and screening controls. Passengers, operators (including aerodrome operators), ground handlers and other persons who fail to comply with the Security Regulations could face a fine of up to RM200,000 or up to five years' imprisonment (or both).

Court of Appeal determines that negative declaratory arbitration awards are enforceable
Shearn Delamore & Co
  • Arbitration & ADR
  • Malaysia
  • 23 May 2019

A recent Court of Appeal case addressed whether a negative declaratory arbitration award is enforceable. The decision emphasises the narrow grounds that enable the high courts to refuse to recognise or enforce an arbitration award, as long as the requirements of Section 38(2) of the Arbitration Act are complied with. It also establishes a precedent that there is no barrier to the enforcement of a negative declaratory arbitration award.

Attorney general's discretion is not unfettered
Gan Partnership
  • Litigation
  • Malaysia
  • 14 May 2019

The attorney general is a public officer who has been given ample discretionary power under Article 145 of the Federal Constitution to institute, conduct or discontinue any criminal proceedings. The question is, where a public officer's decision is subject to judicial review, does this equally apply to the attorney general?

Do databases constitute 'plant' and qualify for capital allowances?
  • Corporate Tax
  • Malaysia
  • 10 May 2019

In a recent case before the High Court, CIMB Bank Bhd had written to the director general of inland revenue (DGIR) to seek his confirmation on whether certain databases qualified for capital allowances under the Income Tax Act 1967. The DGIR opined that the databases were not 'plant' but 'goodwill' and would not qualify for capital allowances. However, the High Court rejected the DGIR's argument and held that he had had no basis for his submission.

Foreign ships repairing undersea cables now exempt from cabotage policy
Shearn Delamore & Co
  • Shipping & Transport
  • Malaysia
  • 08 May 2019

The government has decided to exempt from its cabotage policy foreign vessels repairing undersea cables at any cable landing station in Malaysian waters. This decision has eliminated restrictions which generated unintended effects and created significant delays and costs in repairing undersea cables. Now, highly specialised, purpose-built vessels can berth in Malaysian waters to repair undersea cables.

Directors duty to act in company's best interests: how much is too much?
Bodipalar Ponnudurai De Silva
  • Company & Commercial
  • Malaysia
  • 22 April 2019

A recent case suggests that there are limits to the way in which directors can act when taking steps to protect a company. The case is a useful reminder that while directors may avail themselves of the shield provided by the judicial management regime in order to allow a company time to regain its footing, the courts will not hesitate to put checks and balances in place to prevent the misuse of such legislation, albeit for the purpose of safeguarding a company's survival.

Court clarifies test applicable to applications to restrain arbitration proceedings by non-parties
Shearn Delamore & Co
  • Arbitration & ADR
  • Malaysia
  • 04 April 2019

In a recent Court of Appeal case, the plaintiff sought an injunction to restrain arbitration proceedings between the second, third and fourth defendants, despite the fact that it was not a party to the proceedings. Among other things, the court had to consider whether Sections 10(1)(a) and 10(3) of the Arbitration Act 2005 apply to non-parties to arbitration proceedings and determine the test for accepting an injunction application to restrain arbitration proceedings by non-parties.

Exclusion clauses – abuse of freedom of contract?
Bodipalar Ponnudurai De Silva
  • Company & Commercial
  • Malaysia
  • 18 February 2019

It is common for large conglomerates to require customers to execute agreements with standard boilerplate terms and conditions. The fine print of these boilerplate terms and conditions typically contains an exclusion clause which seeks to restrict or limit the liability of the corporations. However, what happens when these corporations default under the agreement and then seek refuge behind the exclusion clause to disclaim liability?

Federal Court will not condone irregularities in court orders
Gan Partnership
  • Litigation
  • Malaysia
  • 29 January 2019

The Federal Court recently reaffirmed that where a final court order is proved to be null and void on grounds of illegality or due to a lack of jurisdiction, the court has inherent jurisdiction to set aside the order, even in the absence of an express enabling provision. However, is the rule different for winding-up orders?

Post-Budget 2019 – major amendments to Labuan Business Activity Tax Act
  • Corporate Tax
  • Malaysia
  • 25 January 2019

In Malaysia, the Income Tax Act 1967 governs the imposition of income tax. However, in 1990 a separate tax act, the Labuan Business Activity Tax Act, was introduced to govern the imposition of tax on Labuan business activities carried out by Labuan entities. The Labuan act has now been substantially revised following Budget 2019. In particular, Labuan entities can no longer elect to pay the RM20,000 flat tax rate; instead, they will be subject to 3% tax on chargeable profits from any Labuan business activity.

Court rules on threshold to set aside arbitral award that conflicts with public policy
Shearn Delamore & Co
  • Arbitration & ADR
  • Malaysia
  • 17 January 2019

The Federal Court recently clarified the high threshold required for an arbitral award to be set aside on grounds of public policy pursuant to Section 37 of the Arbitration Act. According to the court, although public policy is a broad concept, when applying it for the purpose of setting aside an award under Section 37, it should be read narrowly. Further, even where such a conflict with public policy is established, the court's power to set aside an award under Section 37 remains discretionary.

Court of Appeal finds carrier breached contract to deliver cargo
Shearn Delamore & Co
  • Shipping & Transport
  • Malaysia
  • 19 December 2018

A high court recently dismissed a plaintiff's claim against the defendant-carrier for breach of its contract to carry and deliver cargo to the plaintiff on the basis that the plaintiff had failed to prove its claim. However, on appeal, the Court of Appeal upheld the plaintiff's claim and found the defendant liable.

Wrongdoer control: no longer just a numbers game
Bodipalar Ponnudurai De Silva
  • Company & Commercial
  • Malaysia
  • 12 November 2018

It has long been recognised that where wrongdoers control a company and thus prevent it from bringing an action, the courts will allow shareholders to do so on the company's behalf in order to obtain redress by way of a derivative action. While the courts have recognised a range of scenarios where wrongdoers can be said to control the company, can this concept of wrongdoer control apply where there is a deadlock at both the board and shareholder level obfuscating any clear majority or minority in the company?

Another failed attempt by Indian government to set aside arbitral award before courts
Shearn Delamore & Co
  • Arbitration & ADR
  • Malaysia
  • 18 October 2018

In 2005 the Indian government unsuccessfully applied to the Malaysian courts to set aside a partial award issued by the arbitral tribunal. In 2014 the Indian government issued the defendants with a notice to show cause, prompting the defendants to request the tribunal to be reconvened since there was a dispute on the quantification of sums payable. The tribunal granted the final award and the Indian government applied to the Malaysian High Court to set it aside.

High court finds DGIR's advance ruling is decision subject to judicial review
  • Corporate Tax
  • Malaysia
  • 12 October 2018

In a recent case, IBM Malaysia applied for an advance ruling from the director general of inland revenue (DGIR) to determine whether a payment made by it to IBM Ireland under a software distribution agreement would be considered royalty under the Income Tax Act and thus subject to withholding tax. One of the issues raised by the DGIR for consideration by the court was whether the advance ruling was a decision amenable to judicial review.

Lower threshold for staying proceedings pending appeal
Gan Partnership
  • Litigation
  • Malaysia
  • 25 September 2018

Following a recent Court of Appeal decision on staying proceedings pending appeal, the test as to whether a stay ought to be granted under Section 44 of the Courts of Judicature Act has been simplified (ie, it now focuses on whether the true purpose of the stay is to preserve the integrity of the appeal). The new threshold to obtain a stay is considerably lower than that of the special circumstances rule under Section 73 of the Courts of Judicature Act.

Arbitration Act 2005 does not oust courts' inherent jurisdiction
Shearn Delamore & Co
  • Arbitration & ADR
  • Malaysia
  • 09 August 2018

The legal battle between La Kaffa International Co Ltd and Loob Holding Sdn Bhd, which has garnered much public attention, recently made its way to the Court of Appeal. This court's decision clarifies that the Arbitration Act 2005 does not oust the inherent jurisdiction or the powers of the courts to order interim measures. However, by virtue of Section 8, the court will be slow to provide relief which is not clearly spelled out in act.

Lewdness in flight
SKRINE
  • Aviation
  • Malaysia
  • 08 August 2018

A Bangladeshi man was recently caught committing lewd acts on a flight departing from Kuala Lumpur International Airport. It is unclear whether the criminal laws in Malaysia could apply in this case, as available news reports have not yet provided sufficient information. However, assuming that Malaysian criminal laws apply, the man's curious actions may contravene several Malaysian statutes, including the Penal Code.