Responsive image

RTA COVID-19 Resource Centre

The COVID-19 outbreak has been a jarring development across the world. As the threat continues to climb, the impact of the outbreak has been palpable. National borders have been restricted, entire industries have been affected, and businesses have found themselves having to change the way they work. This has heralded much uncertainty in the commercial world.

Our RTA COVID-19 Resource Centre gathers views from our lawyers across the region on some of the common issues and legal implications of this pandemic.

Going Through This With You

We appreciate the difficulty in keeping track of the rapidly evolving regulatory changes to deal with the COVID-19 situation. Rajah & Tann Asia is closely monitoring the situation and remains ready to assist.

Our COVID-19 Legal Team comprises lawyers across the region and practice areas dedicated to serve our clients on a timely basis in this uncertain time. Please feel free to get in touch with our COVID-19 Legal Team or your usual contact at Rajah & Tann Asia if you have any queries relating to legal and operational issues arising from the COVID-19 pandemic.

What's New


PHILIPPINES: The Revised Omnibus Guidelines on Community Quarantine in the Philippines

After the implementation of an Enhanced Community Quarantine ("ECQ") for two months in Luzon and other high-risk areas, the Philippine Government has gradually started easing restrictions and has begun transitioning to the "new normal".  On 30 April 2020, the Philippines President issued Executive Order No. 112), which adopted the Inter-Agency Task Force ("IATF") for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases Resolution No. 30 or the Omnibus Guidelines on the Implementation of Community Quarantine in the Philippines ("Omnibus Guidelines") and granted the IATF the authority to modify the Omnibus Guidelines without need of further approval of the President.  On 15 May 2020, the IATF issued the Revised Omnibus Guidelines on the Implementation of Community Quarantine in the Philippines.

Philippines | General | 22 May 2020
SINGAPORE: COVID-19 & Insurance: Coverage Issues in a Pandemic World

It has been only two months since the World Health Organization declared the COVID-19 outbreak a pandemic, but the world has probably seen only a fraction of the likely long-lasting economic and social impacts of the pandemic. Whilst various social distancing and lockdown restrictions imposed across the world have slowed down the rate of outbreaks, myriad financial losses to both corporate entities and individuals have already skyrocketed. Many affected persons are likely to turn to and eagerly expect their existing insurance coverage to defray some or all of these losses.

This Update discusses the following potentially difficult coverage issues under some of such existing (and pre COVID-19) commercial insurance policies:

  • Loss of profit/revenue and business interruption;
  • Event cancellation;
  • Credit insurance;
  • Public liability; and
  • Management liability.
Singapore | Financial Institutions | 21 May 2020
THAILAND: COVID-19: Prohibition on Lockouts and Strikes

In order to control the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic in Thailand, the Thai government announced an emergency decree which applies to all areas in Thailand from 26 March to 30 April 2020 (“Emergency Decree”), and has since been extended to 31 May 2020. Under the Emergency Decree, the Thai government has issued several notifications in order to prevent and suppress the outbreak.

One of the most recent notifications is from the Ministry of Labour Re: Referral of unsettled labour disputes to the labour relations committee for settlement and prohibition on employers to cause a lockout or employees to cause a strike during the period of the emergency situations in accordance with the laws on public administration in emergency situations (“Notification”). The Notification came into force on 8 May 2020 and is widely understood to be intended to prevent a potential spread of the disease by prohibiting employee strike action, while also allowing employees who were previously subject to a lockout to return to work.

Thailand | Workplace & Employment | 21 May 2020
THAILAND: COVID-19: Postponed Implementation Deadline for Personal Data Protection Act

On 19 May 2020, the Thai Cabinet approved in principle a proposal made by the Ministry of Digital Economy and Society to provide a one-year long postponement of the effective date of key operative provisions of the Personal Data Protection Act B.E. 2562 (2019) ("PDPA") from 27 May 2020 to 31 May 2021 ("New Effective Date"). This move comes as good news for companies struggling to implement their personal data protection regimes by the original 27 May 2020 date. For example, by the New Effective Date, companies are required to ensure they obtain consent from the Data Subject prior to or at the time of any collection, use, or disclosure of Personal Data, except where consent is not required under the PDPA or pursuant to any other laws.

This Update highlights the implications of the postponement, as well as the key features of the PDPA

Thailand | Data Privacy | 20 May 2020
MALAYSIA: Pharmaceutical Product Registration and Cosmetic Product Notification in Malaysia

As the global COVID-19 cases continue to rise, researchers around the world are racing to understand the virus and working to roll out an effective vaccine.

In this Update, we look at the general requirements and procedure for pharmaceutical product registration and also cosmetic product notification in Malaysia.

Malaysia | General | 18 May 2020
SINGAPORE: COVID-19 and M&A: Key Considerations in a Time of Global Uncertainty

The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has caused widespread uncertainty, and the full impact on the global economy remains to be seen. Understandably, this would lead to questions surrounding the viability and validity of, and impact on, transactions, whether contemplated, ongoing or completed.

As M&A activity continues against the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic, there are certain key considerations that should be borne in mind by the parties.

This Update aims to highlight these considerations as well as steps that can be taken to manage the risks caused or aggravated by COVID-19.

Singapore | Mergers & Acquisitions | 15 May 2020
SINGAPORE: Regulations for Property Owners on Passing on Tax Rebates to Tenants

In response to the commercial difficulties caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Resilience Budget was announced to grant property tax rebates for qualifying properties for the period of 1 Jan 2020 to 31 Dec 2020. While the owners of such properties would receive the rebate, owners are expected to pass on the benefit of the rebate to their tenants, if any.

On 13 May 2020, the COVID-19 (Temporary Measures) (Transfer of Benefit of Property Tax Remission) Regulations 2020 ("Regulations") came into operation. The Regulations provide further details on how owners are to pass on the rebate, including: (i) the formulae for determining the prescribed amount of benefit that must be passed on to the tenant; (ii) the prescribed manner and time for passing on the benefit; and (iii) the information to be provided to the tenant. In this Update, we highlight the key points of the Regulations that property owners should take note of.

Singapore | Support Measures | 15 May 2020
SINGAPORE: FinTech Solidarity Grant & MAS Support Package to Aid FinTech Firms/FIs Financially

On 13 May 2020, the Monetary Authority of Singapore ("MAS"), Singapore FinTech Association, AMTD Group and AMTD Foundation launched a S$6 million MAS-SFA-AMTD FinTech Solidarity Grant ("Grant") to help Singapore-based FinTech firms weather the storm caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Eligible FinTech firms may apply for the Grant from 18 May 2020 to 31 December 2021.

The Grant complements the S$125 million support package announced by MAS on 8 April 2020 ("Support Package") to sustain and strengthen capabilities in the financial services and FinTech sectors amid the current economic slump. The Support Package took effect from 8 April 2020.

This Update highlights the key features of the Grant and the Support Package for FinTech firms in Singapore.

Singapore | Financial Institutions | 15 May 2020
SINGAPORE: Contracts between Housing Developers and Buyers Added to Scope of COVID-19 Temporary Relief

On 13 May 2020, the Government announced amendments to the COVID-19 (Temporary Measures) Act and the COVID-19 (Temporary Measures) (Temporary Relief for Inability to Perform Contracts) Regulations 2020 (collectively, "Updated Regulations"). The new amendments allow property purchasers of a unit in a housing accommodation from housing developers to obtain temporary relief for their inability to perform their obligations under:

• an option given by a housing developer to an intending property purchaser, and/or

• a sale and purchase agreement between a housing developer and a property purchaser

This Update highlights the key features and implications of the Updated Regulations.

Singapore | Support Measures | 15 May 2020
PHILIPPINES: BSP Grants Relief Measures to Manage the Financial Impact of COVID-19, Temporarily Suspends Administrative Proceedings, and Issues Guidelines for the Implementation of the Bayanihan to Heal As One Act

The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (“BSP”) Monetary Board has approved the granting of relief measures to BSP-supervised financial institutions (“BSFIs”) to enable them to extend the same relief measures to their clients, borrowers, and employers in view of the Enhanced Community Quarantine (“ECQ”) imposed by the Philippine government in response to the COVID-19 outbreak in the Philippines. The BSP also temporarily suspended proceedings of administrative cases at the BSP’s Office of the General Counsel and Legal Services-Investigation and Prosecution Group due to the Luzon-wide ECQ. It likewise directed all BSFIs to comply with Section 4(aa) of the Bayanihan to Heal As One Act.

On April 24, 2020, President Rodrigo Duterte announced another extension of the ECQ in high-risk areas which include Metro Manila, Central Luzon (except Aurora), the CALABARZON Region (Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal and Quezon), the island of Cebu, the provinces of Davao del Norte, Davao de Oro, and Davao City, among other areas until May 15, 2020.

Philippines | Support Measures | 14 May 2020
INDONESIA: The Urge to Merge: OJK Regulations Encourages Merger Between Banks

Following the enactment of Government Regulation in lieu of Law No. 1 of 2020, Indonesia's financial services authority, the OJK, has enacted several regulations designed to safeguard the stability of the financial system and deal with the threat of an economic crisis.

In this update, we will discuss OJK Regulation No. 18/POJK/03/2020 on Written Order to Handle Problematic Banks ("POJK 18/2020") and OJK Regulation No. 12/POJK.03/2020 on the Consolidation of Commercial Banks ("POJK 12/2020") in the context of the banking sector. While POJK 18/2020 was issued in the context of the current coronavirus crisis, POJK 12/2020 has been on OJK's radar before the pandemic.

Indonesia | Support Measures | 13 May 2020
SINGAPORE: Resuming Workplace Operations: Safe Management Measures

Following the Multi-Ministry Taskforce's announcement that the circuit breaker measures would be progressively-eased over the coming weeks, the Tripartite Partners have issued Safe Management Measures on 9 May 2020 ("Measures") for employers to establish a system to ensure a safe work environment and minimise the risks of further outbreaks. The Measures issued by the Tripartite Partners must be implemented by employers which are allowed to resume operations, including employers allowed to operate during this period and those permitted to do so after 12 May 2020. For employers resuming operations after the end of the circuit breaker period, the Measures must be in place before they can resume operations at the workplace. An outline of the Measures is set out in this update.

Singapore | Workplace & Employment | 13 May 2020
CAMBODIA: Guideline on Health and Livelihood Protection of Cambodian International Migrants and Returnees During COVID-19 Containment

On 29 April 2020, the Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training issued Guideline No. 048/20 MLVT on Health and Livelihood Protection of Cambodian International Migrants and Returnees During COVID-19 Containment (“Guideline”). The Guideline mandates the returnees to, among other things, follow the guidelines of the competent authority at the land border and airport for health check measure implementation and 14-day quarantine after arrival, and contact the local authorities for intervention if any problem affecting their daily livelihood during the COVID-19 containment arises.

Cambodia | Workplace & Employment | 12 May 2020
MALAYSIA: Business As Usual During COVID-19: Legal Considerations of E-Signing Documents

Following the Prime Minister’s latest announcement that the Conditional Movement Control Order ("CMCO") has been extended until 9 June 2020 (but with further industries and businesses gradually opening up since the start of the CMCO on 4 May 2020), companies and organisations are increasingly compelled by circumstances to adopt new and innovative ways to resume business. Work from home arrangements have been widely implemented across industries to support the Government’s call to practice social distancing in response to the COVID-19 outbreak in Malaysia. In light of the present circumstances, companies and organisations (essential and non-essential services alike) have now turned towards "e-signing" to facilitate the signing and execution of documents in the commercial context. In this client update, we analyse and address some of the legal issues related to the use of electronic signatures.”).

Malaysia | Contracts | 12 May 2020
SINGAPORE: Temporary Exemption to Allow Electronic Dissemination of Offer Documents for Rights Issues and Take-over or Merger Transactions

Due to the COVID-19 outbreak, restrictions imposed on the operations and manpower of printers and mailing houses have posed challenges to the mass production of hard copy documents including documents in relation to rights issues and take-over or merger transactions. Various laws and rules require hard copies of these documents to be despatched.

In response, on 6 May 2020, the Monetary Authority of Singapore, the Securities Industry Council and the Singapore Exchange Regulation jointly announced temporary measures giving issuers listed on SGX-ST and parties involved in rights issues and take-over or merger transactions the option to disseminate an electronic version of the relevant offer documents through publication on SGXNET and their corporate websites.

These temporary measures take effect from 6 May 2020 to 30 September 2020.

This Update highlights the conditions for relying on the temporary measures.

Singapore | Corporate Governance | 12 May 2020
CAMBODIA: Law on the Administration of the Nation during a State of Emergency

The Law on the Administration of the Nation during a State of Emergency (“Law”) was promulgated with immediate effect on 29 April 2020. Under the Law, the country can be placed under a state of emergency via a Royal Decree if Cambodia is faced with a serious threat to the national security, public health, and societal order. The state of emergency may be declared for a period of no longer than three months. If the situation demands, such period may be extended. At the appropriate time and circumstance, the state of emergency may be withdrawn by a Royal Decree via the request of the Prime Minister. 

Cambodia | General | 08 May 2020
SINGAPORE: Temporary Relief Measures against Disruptions Caused by COVID-19 and 'Circuit Breaker' Measures for Eligible Property Developers & Married Couples

On 6 May 2020, the Singapore Government announced temporary relief measures for eligible property developers and married couples affected by the COVID-19 'circuit breaker' measures. Eligible property developers will be granted six months' extension of time to comply with the regulatory and authority-imposed timelines / deadlines, including completing the construction of the development projects and selling the units being built, while eligible married couples purchasing a second residential property will be granted an additional six months to sell their first residential property so as to be eligible for a remission of the Additional Buyer’s Stamp Duty paid on the second property. In this Update, we look at the key elements of these temporary relief measures, as well as their efficacy for property developers.

 

Singapore | Support Measures | 08 May 2020
PHILIPPINES: Supreme Court Suspends Operations of Courts and Issues Rules on Online Filing of Complaint or Information and Posting of Bail

In line with the implementation of enhanced community quarantine ("ECQ") measures by the National Government, the Philippine Supreme Court ("SC") has ordered the physical closure and suspension of operations of all courts, except for urgent matters.  The SC has also issued rules of procedure for the online filing of complaints or informations in criminal cases, posting of bail, and pilot testing of hearings in criminal cases involving persons deprived of liberty ("PDLs") through videoconferencing. In line with the extension of the ECQ over certain areas (including the National Capital Region), the SC has also extended the effectivity of these measures until May 15, 2020.  Separate guidelines were also issued for courts located in areas placed under General Community Quarantine (GCQ).  These are provided in SC Administrative Circulars Nos. 35-2020 and 36-2020, both issued on 27 April 2020.

The SC also issued guidelines on reduced bail and recognizance as modes for releasing indigent PDLs during the period of public health emergency pending the resolution of their cases.  These are provided in SC Administrative Circular No. 38-2020 issued on 30 April  2020. 

Philippines | General | 07 May 2020
PHILIPPINES: BIR Further Extends Deadlines, Suspends Assessment, and Collection of Deficiency Taxes Due to Enhanced Community Quarantine

The Bureau of Internal Revenue ("BIR") previously issued Revenue Regulations No. 007-2020, as amended by Revenue Regulations No. 010-2020, extending the deadline for the submission and/or filing of certain documents and/or returns as well as payment of certain taxes. On 29 April 2020, BIR issued Revenue Regulations No. 011-2020  further extending the deadlines to submit, file and/or pay the necessary documents and/or taxes required under the National Internal Revenue Code, as amended, as well as in the existing revenue regulations.  The extension of due dates is applicable throughout the Philippines. 

Philippines | Support Measures | 07 May 2020
PHILIPPINES: DOLE and DTI Issue Interim Guidelines on Workplace Prevention and Control of COVID-19 for Private Establishments Allowed to Operate during the ECQ and GCQ

The whole of Luzon has been under an Enhanced Community Quarantine ("ECQ") since 17 March 2020 due to the COVID-19 outbreak in the Philippines.  On 30 April  2020, President Rodrigo Duterte issued Executive Order No. 112 which approved the extension -- until 15 May 2020 -- of the ECQ over Metro Manila, Central Luzon (except Aurora), CALABARZON (comprising Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal, and Quezon) and other high-risk provinces.  Moderate and low-risk provinces, meanwhile, were placed under a less-stringent General Community Quarantine ("GCQ") until 15 May 2020.   

On 30 April 2020, the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) and the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) issued interim guidelines to assist private institutions that are allowed to operate during the ECQ and GCQ in developing the minimum health protocols and standards in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Philippines | Workplace & Employment | 07 May 2020
PHILIPPINES: Extension of Deadlines of Payment Obligations and Submission Requirements, and Implementation of Other Measures to Provide Relief to Electricity Consumers

The Department of Energy ("DOE") extended the deadlines for the payment of certain obligations in the energy supply chain, such as those due to the Power Sector Assets and Liabilities Management Corp. (PSALM), the National Power Corporation (NPC), the National Transmission Corporation (TRANSCO), the National Grid Power Corporation (NGCP) and the Independent Electricity Market Operator (IEMOP), and also directed public and private corporations in the energy supply chain to extend the payment deadlines of their customers.  The DOE also issued guidelines for the remittance and utilization of host community funds for a targeted COVID-19 response and directed the grant of relief to electricity consumers, both individual and corporate.

The Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) also extended the deadlines for the payment of certain obligations in the energy supply chain, and also the submission of certain documents, and directed other energy sector participants to similarly extend certain payment deadlines.  It temporarily suspended the collection of the feed-in tariff allowance (Fit-All) and granted interim relief to the National Grid Power Corporation (NGCP) that will effectively reduce the transmission tariff borne by electricity consumers.

Philippines | Support Measures | 07 May 2020
SINGAPORE: Conducting Meetings Relating to Collective Sale Amid COVID-19

On 27 April 2020, the COVID-19 (Temporary Measures) (Alternative Arrangements for Meetings for Management Corporations, Subsidiary Management Corporations and Collective Sale Committees) Order 2020 ("Order") was issued to provide for alternative arrangements for the following types of meetings to be conducted by electronic means:

• General meetings of management corporations ("MCs");

• General meetings of subsidiary management corporations; and

• Meetings of collective sale committees ("CSCs").

There are difficulties in conducting general meetings for collective sales (commonly known as en bloc sales) and meetings of CSCs in a manner prescribed in the Land Titles (Strata) Act while the control and elevated safe distancing measures are in place to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

The Order, which is deemed to be in force from 27 March 2020, allows such meetings to be conducted, wholly or partially, by electronic means from 27 March 2020 to 30 September 2020. With the exception of meetings of CSCs, they may also be deferred to a date no later than 30 September 2020.

This Update focuses on the key issues to note for holding a general meeting of a MC for the purpose of a collective sale and a CSC meeting by electronic means pursuant to the alternative arrangements set out in the Order.

Singapore | Corporate Governance | 04 May 2020
CAMBODIA: Quarantine Measures for Workers Taking Leave during the Khmer New Year and Returning Back to Work at Factories, Enterprises and Establishments

The Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training (“MLVT”) has issued Guideline No. 046/20 MLVT/GUI.CBN dated 17 April 2020 on the Quarantine Measures for Workers Taking Leave during the Khmer New Year and Returning Back to Work at Factories, Enterprises and Establishments (“Guideline”). Following the previous regulations of the MLVT and Ministry of Health, the Guideline requires all owners or directors of the factories and all workers to implement certain measures, such as providing isolation rooms for returning employees, and instructing workers to have health checks at the Health Control Centre.

Cambodia | Workplace & Employment | 30 April 2020
CAMBODIA: Control and Support Measures in Cambodia Amid the COVID-19 Pandemic

In combatting the spread of COVID-19 in Cambodia, the Royal Government of Cambodia (“RGC”) first started to issue travel restrictions on a selective basis, targeting travellers coming from countries or region most hard-hit by COVID-19, which included the European countries, the United States of America and Iran. As the situation continues to worsen, the RGC has sought to impose travel restrictions on all inbound foreign travellers by requiring them to fulfil a set of conditions before they can be allowed to enter the country.

In addition, the RGC has issued various measures aimed at alleviating the burden of local businesses and individuals affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Cambodia | Support Measures | 30 April 2020
CHINA: Control and Support Measures in China Amid the COVID-19 Pandemic

China is at a different stage in combating the COVID-19 pandemic. Generally speaking, the COVID-19 pandemic in China has been under control, but China is at the stage of preventing the virus from being imported and the potential occurrence of a second wave of infections. Most of the lockdown and movement control measures in China have been lifted, including the lockdown of Hubei Province (except for Wuhan City),  which ended on 25 March 2020. The lockdown of Wuhan City (the epicentre of the outbreak) ended on 8 April 2020. Currently, most of the businesses in China have resumed normal production and operations or are in the process of resuming normal production and operations, subject to certain relevant local rules such as the working space and safe social distancing requirements.

The central government of China has released temporary policies, reliefs and guidelines to support businesses affected by the pandemic. The ministries of the central government and the local governments have also issued temporary policies and reliefs in accordance with the guidelines issued by the central government.

 

China | Support Measures | 30 April 2020
INDONESIA: Control and Support Measures in Indonesia Amid the COVID-19 Pandemic

The Indonesian government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic has been steadily intensifying in the past weeks. Pursuant to Regulation of the DKI Jakarta Governor No. 33 of 2020 and Decree No. 380 of 2020, Jakarta became the first province in Indonesia to impose massive social restriction. This is evidenced by the closing of schools, offices except for those conducting essential services) and places of worship, passenger’s limitation for public and personal transportation and prohibition of mass gathering. By mid-April, President Joko Widodo declared COVID-19 as a non-natural national disaster, which obliges the governors, regents, and mayors of the various regions in Indonesia to establish policies in line with this declaration. West Java and Tangerang soon followed Jakarta’s lead and declared a massive social restriction in their respective regions.

On the business side, the government has begun setting the stage to allow public institutions to introduce future measures to ensure that business can go on as usual.

Indonesia | Support Measures | 30 April 2020
LAO PDR: Control and Support Measures in Lao PDR Amid the COVID-19 Pandemic

On 29 March 2020, the Prime Minister issued the Order on Reinforcement Measures on Containment, Prevention and Full Response to the COVID-19 Pandemic ("Order"). Pursuant to the Order, restrictions were imposed on movement and gatherings, and employees (other than those in essential services) were required to work from home for the period from 30 March 2020 to 19 April 2020. The Order had been extended to 3 May 2020. 

Even before the Order was issued, the Bank of Lao PDR ("BOL") had on 26 March 2020 issued the Decision on Policy in Respect of Loans to Provide Relief Measures Due to the Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic ("BOL Decision").  The BOL Decision requires commercial banks to allow borrowers more time to repay principal and interest and to support parties adversely affected by the pandemic.  Loans re-structured pursuant to the BOL Decision need not be classified as non-performing.

Lao PDR | Support Measures | 30 April 2020
MALAYSIA: Control and Support Measures in Malaysia Amid the COVID-19 Pandemic

On 16 March 2020, the Malaysian Prime Minister announced the implementation of a nationwide Movement Control Order ("MCO") which began on 18 March 2020 and was initially scheduled to end on 31 March 2020. This order was made pursuant to the Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases Act 1988 with the objective being to restrict the spread of COVID-19. However, due to the increase in the number of COVID-19 cases seen in Malaysia during that time, the Government made a decision to extend the initial period of the MCO to 14 April 2020 (Phase 2) and the MCO was subsequently further extended until 28 April 2020 (Phase 3). The Prime Minister recently made an announcement extending the MCO period to 12 May 2020. 

As part of the Government’s efforts to mitigate the social and economic impact of COVID-19 and the MCO, on 27 March 2020, the Prime Minister announced a RM250 billion stimulus package known as the Prihatin Rakyat Economic Stimulus Package (PRIHATIN). Through this stimulus package, financial assistance will be channelled to targeted individuals, Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) and industries to provide temporary relief.

Malaysia | Support Measures | 30 April 2020
MYANMAR: Control and Support Measures in Myanmar Amid the COVID-19 Pandemic

In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Myanmar government has introduced a number of measures to manage the spread of COVID-19, and provide relief to businesses, individuals, employers and employees affected by the outbreak.

On 25 March 2020, the President's Office with the advice of the Ministry of Health and Sports, issued Letter No. 70(23)/1 to all Regional and State Governments on Preventive and Precautionary Measures of COVID-19 ("Letter"). The Letter instructed all Regional and State Governments to allow only 50% of the employees in the government offices and departments to work during office hours.

On 20 March 2020, MOL issued Directive 1/2020 stating that  Cut- Make-Pack (CMP) Factories and Workshops, Hotel and Tourism companies, and other medium and small business enterprises economically afflicted by COVID-19 ("Afflicted Businesses") which have been temporarily or permanently shut down, or whose number of labourers has been reduced, are permitted to be exempted from Social Security Board ("SSB") contribution payments. MOL also issued Notifications 63 and 64/2020 on that date to allow the Afflicted Businesses to make SSB contribution payments no later than three months from the end of the relevant month, as opposed to the previous 15-day requirement.

Myanmar | Support Measures | 30 April 2020
PHILIPPINES: Control and Support Measures in the Philippines Amid the COVID-19 Pandemic

On 16 March 2020, the Philippine President declared a State of Calamity throughout the Philippines for a period of six months and imposed an Enhanced Community Quarantine ("ECQ") throughout Luzon (the biggest island in the Philippines where Metro Manila is located) until 12 April 2020.  The ECQ was subsequently extended to 30 April 2020. 

In order to optimise the government’s efforts in responding against the health and economic costs posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Philippine Congress enacted Republic Act No. 11469, or the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act ("Act").  The Act granted the President certain emergency powers and the authority necessary to carry out urgent measures, including the authority to direct the operation of privately-owned hospitals and medical and health facilities, and ensure availability of essential goods, among others.  The Act also authorised and prioritised the augmentation of the operational budget of government hospitals, calamity funds, and budget of various social amelioration programs. 

On 24 April 2020, the Philippine President announced the extension of the ECQ in Metro Manila, Central Luzon (except Aurora which is under general community quarantine), CALABARZON (Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal, and Quezon), and other high-risk areas in Luzon until 15 May 2020. Moderate-risk and low-risk areas in Luzon will be placed under general community quarantine starting 1 May 2020. The President also placed some areas in Visayas and Mindanao under ECQ.

Philippines | Support Measures | 30 April 2020
SINGAPORE: Fourteen Rajah & Tann Singapore’s Lawyers Appointed by Singapore's Ministry of Law to Serve as Assessors under the COVID-19 (Temporary Measures) Act

Rajah & Tann Singapore is pleased to announce that 14 of our lawyers have been appointed by Singapore's Ministry of Law to serve as assessors under the COVID-19 (Temporary Measures) Act. They were appointed by the Minister for Law to resolve disputes arising from the application of the Act. The Assessor will decide whether the case is one to which the relief under the Act applies and will seek to achieve an outcome that is just and equitable in the circumstances.

 The appointed assessors who come from the firm's Disputes and Corporate practices are the following:

  1. Aleksandar Georgiev
  2. Alvin Tan Yong Joon
  3. Alyssa Leong
  4. Benjamin Teo
  5. Clement Chan
  6. Devathas Satianathan
  7. Dominique Lombardi  
  8. Kevin Tan
  9. Lionel Tay
  10. Matthew Koh
  11. Nur Rauda Mohamed Said
  12. Pamela Wong  
  13. Phang Hwee Guang
  14. Yip Li Ming
Singapore | Contracts | 30 April 2020
SINGAPORE: Rajah & Tann Regional Round-Up: Issue 1 - Q1 2020 (Special Edition on COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused a deep impact across the globe, affecting all sectors of society. It has fundamentally changed the way we work, the way we live and the way we function.

As governments work to overcome the pandemic and its consequences, policies and measures have been implemented at a swift rate. In this quarterly issue of our Regional Round-Up, we present a special COVID-19 Edition to provide our clients with an overview of the control and support measures put in place in the South-East Asia region and in China. This issue also consolidates Rajah & Tann Asia’s key Client Updates to date on the legal and regulatory developments in response to the pandemic in the respective jurisdictions.

 

Singapore | General | 30 April 2020
SINGAPORE: Conducting Meetings by Electronic Means for Corporate Insolvency and Bankruptcy Matters and Corrigendum

The COVID-19 pandemic has made it impracticable to conduct various types of meetings prescribed under written law and certain legal instruments, which require physical attendance. These include meetings for insolvency and bankruptcy matters.

On 27 April 2020, two Orders prescribing alternative arrangements for meetings in respect of insolvency matters and bankruptcy matters were issued under the COVID-19 (Temporary Measures) Act 2020 (“Act”) that provides, among other things, meetings convened, held, conducted or deferred, on or after 27 March 2020, in accordance with alternative arrangements prescribed under the Act will be deemed to have satisfied relevant requirements under written law or legal instruments.

Singapore | Corporate Governance | 30 April 2020
SINGAPORE: Control and Support Measures in Singapore Amid the COVID-19 Pandemic

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Singapore has introduced a number of control and safe distancing measures progressively to manage the spread of COVID-19, and to provide relief to individuals and businesses affected by the outbreak. Under the COVID-19 (Temporary Measures) Act 2020 ("Act"), the Minister for Health has issued the COVID-19 (Temporary Measures) (Control Order) Regulations 2020 ("Regulations"), which seeks to minimise the movement of and interaction between individuals with effect from 7 April 2020. As part of Singapore's circuit breaker efforts to pre-empt the increasing trend of local transmission, the Regulations have been progressively updated with enhanced measures. The Regulations are stated to be in force until 4 May 2020 and may be extended if necessary; on 21 April 2020, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong announced that the circuit breaker period would be extended until 1 June 2020.

The Singapore Parliament has also introduced legislative provisions in the Act that will afford temporary relief from actions for parties unable to perform their contracts, repay loans or pay rent due to COVID-19 events, and will increase the monetary thresholds and time limits for insolvency and bankruptcy. In addition, the Government has introduced various initiatives to provide financial support for businesses and individuals during this time, including the Unity Budget, the Solidarity Budget, the Resilience Budget together with further support measures for businesses to cover the prolonged circuit breaker.

Singapore | Support Measures | 30 April 2020
THAILAND: Control and Support Measures in Thailand Amid the COVID-19 Pandemic

In order to control the COVID-19 pandemic situation in Thailand, the Thai government announced an Emergency Decree which applies to all areas in Thailand from 26 March 2020 to 30 April 2020 ("Emergency Decree"). The Emergency Decree empowers the Bangkok Governor and other provincial governors to issue orders for the closure of places posing a risk of disease contagion. Under the Emergency Decree, the Thai government has issued notifications and set out certain measures in order to prevent and suppress the spread of the disease. The measures include prohibiting entry into risk areas, closure of points of entry into Thailand, prohibiting the assembly of persons, and the closure of places that are risk-prone to the transmission of the disease (including 34 types of venues in the Bangkok area such as department stores, schools, universities, pubs, bars, theatres and sports stadiums). 

To support businesses and individuals during the COVID-19 pandemic, the government and governmental authorities have introduced several measures, which include emergency loans and soft loans for businesses and individuals affected by the pandemic, SME relief measures, a reduction in the rate of withholding taxes, tax relief measures, and additional grounds for tax deductions.

On 28 April 2020, the Thai government has announced the extension of the Emergency Decree until 31 May 2020.

Thailand | Support Measures | 30 April 2020
VIETNAM: Control and Support Measures in Vietnam Amid the COVID-19 Pandemic

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Vietnamese Government has introduced a number of measures to manage the spread of COVID-19, and  provide relief to individuals and businesses affected by the outbreak.                           

Pursuant to the Prime Minister’s Directive No. 16/CT-TTg (as extended), nationwide social distancing measures were imposed from 1 April 2020, and had recently ended on 22 April 2020 for high-risk areas (including Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City). During such measures, people were advised to stay home and only leave for essential purposes. Regarding relief, the Government has rolled out various initiatives for eligible individuals and businesses. These include tax relief (by way of deferral of tax payment deadlines), suspension of social insurance contributions, and the State Bank of Vietnam asking commercial banks to waive, reduce or defer interest payments on loans to affected businesses.

Vietnam | Support Measures | 30 April 2020
MALAYSIA: COVID-19: Interim “Immunity Booster” for Financially Distressed Companies

In fighting against our common enemy, COVID-19, the Government of Malaysia has implemented a Movement Control Order (“MCO”) commencing on 18 March 2020 and currently extended until 12 May 2020 (“MCO Period”).

It is inevitable that beyond the MCO Period, the global and domestic economies will continue to be severely impacted due to reduced socio-economic activities – with each passing day, many business entities are struggling to survive.

In this Update, we are specifically considering the practical and legal issues pertaining to the interim measures taken by the Government of Malaysia in an attempt to assist financially distressed companies from being wound up by the Court.

Malaysia | Support Measures | 29 April 2020
SINGAPORE: Update: Conducting Meetings by Electronic Means Amid COVID-19

Various control and safe distancing measures have been put in place in Singapore to prevent the spread of COVID-19. These measures along with provisions under written law and certain legal instruments requiring personal attendance at meetings have caused difficulties to business entities in Singapore in conducting their annual general meetings and meetings involving a large number of participants.

In response to this, the COVID-19 (Temporary Measures) Act 2020 ("Act") was enacted to provide, among other things, that meetings convened, held, conducted or deferred, on or after 27 March 2020, in accordance with the alternative arrangements prescribed under the Act will be deemed to have satisfied the relevant requirements under the written law or legal instrument.

This Update highlights the changes to the period of application of the prescribed alternative arrangement for conducting shareholders, unitholders and bondholders meetings by electronic means and new Orders issued under the Act to prescribe for the alternative arrangements for conducting meetings by electronic means for other types of meetings and business entities.

 

Singapore | Corporate Governance | 29 April 2020
SINGAPORE: Extension of Support Measures for Businesses to Cover Prolonged Circuit Breaker

On 21 April 2020, the Singapore Government announced that the original circuit breaker measures ("Measures") lasting from 7 April to 4 May 2020 would be extended to 1 June 2020 (inclusive), totalling eight weeks of such Measures. These Measures include the closure of all non-essential businesses, which has since been further tightened such that only 15% of the usual workforce continues to physically attend at their workplaces.

The Solidarity Budget (covered in our earlier Client Update titled "In Solidarity: Third Budget to Support Businesses through COVID-19 Circuit Breaker Measures") announced several relief measures to assist employers in retaining their workforce. This has now been extended to cover the full circuit breaker period, and includes the enhanced Jobs Support Scheme ("JSS") and a second Foreign Worker Levy ("FWL") waiver and rebate.

This Update covers the above, as well as a further announcement from the Ministry of Manpower ("MOM") on its requirements of employers which may affect the receipt of the JSS and FWL payouts.

Singapore | Support Measures | 29 April 2020
PHILIPPINES: DOLE Suspends Alien Employment Permit Processing and Allows Deferment of Payment of Holiday Pay for April 2020

In light of the enhanced community quarantine ("ECQ") implemented in the Luzon Region due to the COVID-19 outbreak in the Philippines, the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) suspended the processing and issuance of alien employment permits (AEP) and allowed employers to defer the payment of holiday pay to employees.  The ECQ was implemented on 16 March 2020 and would be in effect until 30 April 2020.  On 24 April 2020, President Rodrigo Duterte announced another extension of the ECQ in high-risk areas which include Metro Manila, Central Luzon, the CALABARZON Region (Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal and Quezon), the island of Cebu, the provinces of Davao del Norte, Davao de Oro, and Davao City, among other areas until 15 May 2020.

Philippines | Workplace & Employment | 28 April 2020
PHILIPPINES: DFA, BI Suspend Transactions Due to Enhanced Community Quarantine

In view of the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ), the Department of Foreign Affairs ("DFA") and the Bureau of Immigration ("BI") imposed a suspension on certain visa-related transactions.

Philippines | General | 28 April 2020
PHILIPPINES: Company Registration and Transactions with the SEC During the Period of Enhanced Community Quarantine

The Securities and Exchange Commission ("SEC") adopted guidelines as a response to the imposition of the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) all over Luzon by reason of the rapid spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.  Most transactions with the SEC, which include applications for company registration and submission of required reports, can be made online.

Philippines | Corporate Governance | 28 April 2020
PHILIPPINES: BIR Eases Procedures and Provides Reliefs Including those that are Related to Needed Healthcare Equipment in View of the ECQ

The Bureau of Internal Revenue ("BIR") has extended deadlines, suspended assessment and collection of deficiency taxes, and exempted the importation of needed healthcare equipment or materials from certain taxes and duties in view of the Enhanced Community Quarantine ("ECQ") imposed by the Philippine government in response to the worsening COVID-19 outbreak in the Philippines.  The quarantine was announced in the evening of 16 March 2020 and was scheduled to end on 30 April 2020.  On 24 April 2020, President Rodrigo Duterte announced another extension of the ECQ in high-risk areas which include Metro Manila, Central Luzon, the CALABARZON Region (Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal and Quezon), the island of Cebu, the provinces of Davao del Norte, Davao de Oro, and Davao City, among other areas until 15 May 2020.

Philippines | Support Measures | 28 April 2020
CHINA: Measures to Support Enterprises Affected by COVID-19 Pandemic in China

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused significant disruption to the business and operation of many enterprises in China. In order to help enterprises (especially SMEs) that are affected by the pandemic relieve their burden and overcome the difficulties during this period, the central government of China has released temporary policies, reliefs and guidelines. The ministries of the central government and the local governments have also issued temporary policies and reliefs in accordance with the guidelines issued by the central government. 

This Update discusses the key measures implemented by the central government to support enterprises amidst the pandemic.

 

China | Support Measures | 27 April 2020
INDONESIA: General Meeting of Shareholders Goes Online

In light of the approaching deadline for public companies to hold their annual GMS, the Indonesian Financial Services Authority (Otoritas Jasa Keuangan or "OJK") issued two new regulations this week on general meeting of shareholders ("GMS") of public companies, namely OJK Regulation No. 15/POJK.04/2020 ("POJK 15") and OJK Regulation No. 16/POJK.04/2020 ("POJK 16"). POJK 15 and POJK 16 allow public companies to hold their GMS virtually ("e-GMS") through an e-GMS system provided by an e-GMS provider.

In addition, both regulations enable the granting of an electronic proxy ("e-Proxy") through the e-GMS system. While AHP has discussed the e-proxy mechanism in its previous client update, certain provisions have been adjusted in POJK 16 to facilitate the implementation of the e-GMS better.

Indonesia | Corporate Governance | 27 April 2020
SINGAPORE: Expectations of Disclosures by Issuers During COVID-19

During this period of disruption to business caused by the pandemic, issuers listed on the SGX-ST Mainboard and Catalist and shareholders, alike are facing challenges. The economic uncertainty and market volatility make it necessary for shareholders to have up-to-date information concerning material changes in issuers’ business and operations.

Against this backdrop, the Singapore Exchange Regulation (“SGX RegCo”) had, on 22 April 2020, issued a statement on the Regulator's Column setting out SGX's expectations of issuers' disclosures during COVID-19 and considerations to guide issuers in complying with their disclosure obligations under the Listing Rules of the SGX-ST Mainboard and Catalist.

This Update highlights issuers' disclosure obligations during COVID-19 with reference to the general guidance by SGX RegCo.

Singapore | Corporate Governance | 24 April 2020
SINGAPORE: Statutory Moratorium Against Breach of Scheduled Contracts Starts 20 April 2020

On 20 April 2020, the provisions in the COVID-19 (Temporary Measures) Act 2020 Act dealing with the following temporary measures came into force:

  • Temporary relief for inability to perform a scheduled contract specified in the Act that is to a material extent caused by a COVID-19 event; and
  • Temporary relief for financially distressed individuals and businesses by increasing the debt thresholds for bankruptcy and insolvency. 

The Regulations setting out the details for a party to seek the temporary reliefs under the Act were also issued and came into force on 20 April 2020. 

This Update provides a summary of the requirements and process for seeking these temporary reliefs under the Act and includes an overview guide of the procedure diagrammed for your ease of reference. 

 

 

Singapore | Contracts | 23 April 2020
THAILAND: COVID-19: Company Meetings and Filings in the Current Situation (Updated 23 April 2020)

The government has introduced several measures to alleviate the impact of COVID-19 on business operations in Thailand, namely, several notifications to relax requirements and obligations on the part of business operators. These include, among others, the requirements for corporate entities to hold their annual general meeting and submit financial statements and reports to the authorities. We had earlier issued a Client Update on "COVID-19: Company Meetings and Filings in the Current Situation" on 9 April 2020. There have since been notable updates and developments in this area with regard to meetings via electronic media. Below is a summary of the updated measures and relevant guidelines as at 23 April 2020.

Thailand | Corporate Governance | 23 April 2020
MALAYSIA: COVID-19 AGM Matters & the Move to Virtual General Meetings

As the COVID-19 threat continues to escalate and companies struggle to stay afloat, the Companies Commission of Malaysia, in doing its part to offer companies breathing room, has provided a procedure for the extension of time for public companies to hold annual general meetings (“AGMs”), and has also introduced an extension of time for public and private companies to circulate and lodge financial statements and reports.

Regarding the conduct of AGMs, the Securities Commission Malaysia has issued guidelines on the conduct of general meetings during the Mandatory Control Order period and the post-MCO period.

Malaysia | Corporate Governance | 21 April 2020
PHILIPPINES: Imposition of Price Freeze and Enumeration of Establishments Allowed to Operate during the Period of Enhanced Community Quarantine

The Department of Trade and Industry issued various circulars in line with the Philippine government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. These circulars address various measures taken by the government including the imposition of price freeze or price control, measures against panic buying and hoarding, and granting of grace period for rent due on residential and commercial leases. The circulars also address the movement of cargo and transit of personnel of business establishments allowed to operate during the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) declared under the Memorandum issued by the Executive Secretary on 16 March 2020.

Philippines | General | 21 April 2020
PHILIPPINES: Philippine Legislature Grants the President Temporary Emergency Powers to Combat COVID-19 Outbreak

On 8 March 2020, the President of the Philippines declared a State of Public Health Emergency throughout the Philippines due to COVID-19. Following the continued rise of COVID-19 cases, the President, on 16 March 2020, declared a State of Calamity throughout the Philippines and imposed an Enhance Community Quarantine (“ECQ”) throughout Luzon from 17 March 2020 until 12 April 2020, which was subsequently extended until 30 April 2020.

The imposition of the ECQ resulted in the suspension of all classes, prohibition of mass gatherings, observance of strict home quarantine in all households with the exception of accessing basic necessities, closure of private establishments except those providing basic necessities, and suspension of mass public transport, among others.

Philippines | General | 21 April 2020
PHILIPPINES: Imposition of Price Freeze and Enumeration of Establishments Allowed to Operate during the Period of Enhanced Community Quarantine

The Department of Trade and Industry issued various circulars in line with the Philippine government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. These circulars address various measures taken by the government including the imposition of price freeze or price control, measures against panic buying and hoarding, and granting of grace period for rent due on residential and commercial leases.  The circulars also address the movement of cargo and transit of personnel of business establishments allowed to operate during the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) declared under the Memorandum issued by the Executive Secretary on 16 March 2020. 

Philippines | General | 21 April 2020
PHILIPPINES: Philippine Legislature Grants the President Temporary Emergency Powers to Combat COVID-19 Outbreak

On 8 March 2020, the President of the Philippines declared a State of Public Health Emergency throughout the Philippines due to COVID-19. Following the continued rise of COVID-19 cases, the President, on 16 March 2020, declared a State of Calamity throughout the Philippines  and imposed an Enhance Community Quarantine (“ECQ”) throughout Luzon from 17 March 2020 until 12 April 2020, which was subsequently extended until 30 April 2020. 

The imposition of the ECQ resulted in the suspension of all classes, prohibition of mass gatherings, observance of strict home quarantine in all households with the exception of accessing basic necessities, closure of private establishments except those providing basic necessities, and suspension of mass public transport, among others.

Philippines | General | 21 April 2020
SINGAPORE: SME Loan Financing Obligations Amidst Covid-19

The Monetary Authority of Singapore has announced a set of relief measures meant to ease the financial strain on small and medium enterprises ("SMEs") in Singapore. Such relief measures include support for SMEs to defer the payment of principal on their secured loans and the provision of loans to SMEs at potentially lower interest rates. Furthermore, on 7 April 2020, the Parliament passed the COVID-19 (Temporary Measures) Act 2020, which provides for support and protection for SMEs which are unable to perform their obligations under scheduled contracts due to the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak. 

Such measures include a six-month moratorium period starting from 20 April 2020 during which SMEs are provided broad protection against legal action and enforcement of security in respect of certain scheduled contracts and temporary modifications to the insolvency regime to limit certain insolvency proceedings. 

This Update discusses the relief measures relating to SME loan financing obligations amid COVID-19. 

Singapore | Banking & Finance | 20 April 2020
SINGAPORE: Measures to Help S-REITs Manage Cash Flow and Raise Funds Amid COVID-19

On 16 April 2020, the Ministry of Finance, the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore and the Monetary Authority of Singapore jointly announced the following measures to provide real estate investment trusts listed on the Singapore Exchange Securities Trading Limited ("S-REITs") greater flexibility to manage their cash flows and raise funds, to help them to weather through the COVID-19 pandemic:

  • Extending deadline for distribution of taxable income;
  • Raising leverage limit; and
  • Deferring the implementation of a new minimum interest coverage ratio requirement.

This Update provides a summary of these measures affecting S-REITs.

Singapore | Corporate Governance | 17 April 2020
SINGAPORE: Conducting Meetings by Electronic Means Amid COVID-19

Issuers listed on SGX-ST Mainboard and Catalist are facing difficulties in conducting their annual general meetings ("AGMs") due to the enhanced control and safe distancing measures that apply from 27 March 2020 to 4 May 2020 ("Control Period") coupled with provisions under written law and certain legal instruments requiring personal attendance at meetings. To address these challenges, the COVID-19 (Temporary Measures) Act 2020 came into force partially on 7 April 2020 to provide, among other things, that meetings convened, held, conducted or deferred, on or after 27 March 2020, in accordance with the alternative arrangements prescribed under the Act will be deemed to have satisfied the relevant requirements under the written law or legal instrument. The COVID-19 (Temporary Measures) (Alternative Arrangements for Meetings for Companies, Variable Capital Companies, Business Trusts, Unit Trusts and Debenture Holders) Order 2020 was issued on 13 April 2020 to prescribe the alternative arrangements for conducting meetings ("Alternative Arrangements"). On the same day, SGX RegCo (together with ACRA and MAS) jointly prepared a comprehensive and useful checklist to guide listed and non-listed entities on the conduct of general meetings during the Control Period.

This Update discusses the Alternative Arrangements for conducting a meeting or AGM by a listed issuer during the Control Period, with reference to the Order and the Checklist, along with some practical notes.

Singapore | Corporate Governance | 17 April 2020
THAILAND: COVID-19: Force Majeure in Commercial Transactions in the Current Situation

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused a substantial impact on business operations in many industries. As the performance of contractual obligations becomes increasingly difficult, contractual parties should consider the potential legal impact and effect of the outbreak on their commercial contracts and agreements. A frequently asked question is what will happen to contracts and whether or not the performance of obligations can be delayed or suspended or would the parties be liable for losses in any event. In assessing these issues, parties should focus on force majeure clauses and how these apply to their contracts, and the options available in the absence of such contractual provisions. In this Update, we take a look at the rules of force majeure under Thai law, and whether it can be invoked in light of the pandemic.

Thailand | Contracts | 17 April 2020
LAO PDR: Support and Enhanced Control Measures and Policies for COVID-19 Outbreak

To combat the worsening COVID-19 outbreak in the country, the Prime Minister of the Lao People's Democratic Republic issued an order relating to enhanced prevention and control measures for the COVID-19 outbreak on 29 March 2020 ("Order") and a decision on policies and measures to reduce the impact from COVID-19 on 2 April 2020 ("Decision"). The Ministry of Finance issued a notification on 10 April 2020 to implement certain provisions relating to tax contained in the Decision. The Order takes effect from 30 March 2020 to 19 April 2020. On 15 April 2020, the Laos Government announced an extension of the duration of the Order for an additional two weeks (ending 3 May 2020). If necessary, the Government will notify of a further extension. This Update outlines the enhanced measures in the Order and the policies to reduce the impact on businesses caused by COVID-19 in the Decision. 

Lao PDR | General | 15 April 2020
MALAYSIA: Movement Control Order: Update on Employment Issues

The Movement Control Order by the Government of Malaysia which started on 18 March 2020 has been extended till 28 April 2020 (“Restriction Period”).

In this update, we discuss the initiatives introduced by the Government to assist employers and employees during the Restriction Period, and the updated FAQs issued by the Ministry of Human Resources as a result of consultations with stakeholders in the wider industry.

Malaysia | Workplace & Employment | 15 April 2020
INDONESIA: AHP Covid-19 Dispatch

As countries around the world work to tackle the spread of Covid-19, the threat of business interruption has become real, throwing arrangements into disarray, disrupting workforce, and upsetting the global economy.

In Indonesia, the government has begun issuing various countermeasures and relief for businesses and public alike. In this update, we provide a summary of legislation and government updates issued to navigate the Covid-19 outbreak, specifically with respect to the following areas:

i. Dispute Resolution: Jokowi Declares Covid-19 as a National Disaster: A Force Majeure Trigger?

ii. Technology, Media & Telecommunications: Highlighting Indonesia's E-Signature Framework in Times of Covid-19

Indonesia | General | 14 April 2020
SINGAPORE: Updated Requirements under COVID-19 Circuit Breaker Control Order

The COVID-19 (Temporary Measures) (Control Order) Regulations 2020 were issued on 7 April 2020 to impose restrictions on (i) premises and businesses in relation to the closure of premises and the respective controls on essential and non-essential service providers; and (ii) the movement of people, both in public places and in places of residence. Subsequently the Minister for Health issued the COVID-19 (Temporary Measures) (Control Order) (Amendment) Regulations 2020 and the COVID-19 (Temporary Measures) (Control Order) (Amendment No. 2) Regulations 2020 ("Amendments"). These amendments introduce additional obligations and requirements, including in relation to essential service providers, essential service workers, occupiers and owners of permitted premises, and operators of specified dormitories.

In this Update, we highlight the key changes introduced by the Amendments. 

Singapore | General | 14 April 2020
CAMBODIA: Requirement for Workers Transportation Permit and Work Performance during Domestic Travel Constraint

Following the Royal Government’s Order No. 02 ORD dated 9 April 2020 pertaining to the domestic travel constraint, the Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training issued a notification on the use of workers transportation permit and work performance during such domestic travel constraint.

Cambodia | Workplace & Employment | 13 April 2020
CAMBODIA: Nationwide Travel Constraint for Preventing the Spread of COVID-19 and Exception for Certain Travels

The Royal Government of the Kingdom of Cambodia has issued Order No. 02 ORD dated 9 April 2020 on the Nationwide Travel Constraint for Preventing and Obstructing the Spread of COVID-19’ (“Order”). Based on the Order, the constraint enters into force from 24:00 of 9 April 2020 to 24:00 of 16 April 2020.

 

Cambodia | General | 13 April 2020
SINGAPORE: Provisional Measures to Assist Issuers Amid COVID-19

To support issuers listed on the SGX-ST Mainboard during this COVID-19 situation, on 8 April 2020, the Singapore Exchange Regulation (in consultation with the Monetary Authority of Singapore) issued a press release announcing two provisional measures:

  • Enhanced Share Issue Limit: Allowing an issuer to seek a general mandate for an issue of pro-rata shares and convertible securities of up to 100% of its share capital, increasing it from the current 50% limit; and
  • Suspension of Entry into Financial Watch-List: Suspending half-yearly reviews on the first market days of June 2020 and December 2020 to place an issuer on the Singapore Exchange Limited financial watch-list.

This Update discusses the two provisional measures together with some practical notes.

 

Singapore | Corporate Governance | 13 April 2020
INDONESIA: AHP Covid-19 Dispatch

As countries around the world work to tackle the spread of Covid-19, the threat of business interruption has become real, throwing arrangements into disarray, disrupting workforce, and upsetting the global economy.

In Indonesia, the government has begun issuing various countermeasures and relief for businesses and public alike. In this update, we provide a summary of legislation and government updates issued to navigate the Covid-19 outbreak, specifically on the following areas: 

  1. Dispute Resolution
  2. Capital Markets
  3. Competition
  4. Tax and Customs

 

Indonesia | General | 11 April 2020
CAMBODIA: Postponement of Khmer New Year 2020 Holidays & COVID-19 Preventive Measures During Postponement Period

In order to prevent and fight the COVID-19 pandemic, the Royal Government of Cambodia and the Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training have issued notifications to postpone the 2020 Khmer New Year and set out the necessary measures for both the public and private sectors.

 

Cambodia | General | 10 April 2020
SINGAPORE: Listed Issuers Granted Automatic 60-day Extension to Hold AGMs Amid COVID-19

On 7 April 2020, Singapore Exchange Regulation ("SGX RegCo") issued a press release announcing that all issuers listed on the SGX-ST Mainboard and Catalist with financial year ending on or before 31 March 2020 are automatically granted a 60-day extension by SGX to hold their annual general meetings (“AGMs”).

This is issued in response to the Singapore Government’s enhanced safe distancing measures (otherwise known as "circuit-breaker" measures) to control the spread of COVID-19. From 7 April 2020 until 4 May 2020, all businesses in Singapore are required to, among other things, suspend activities at their workplace premises unless they are essential service providers. These measures have severely hampered the holding of meetings which require personal attendance of the participants (provided under Singapore law and/or certain legal instruments which provide a similar restriction) and the performance of statutory audits on listed issuers for their full-year financial results.

This Update highlights the matters that a listed issuer should take note of in view of this recent development.

Singapore | Corporate Governance | 09 April 2020
SINGAPORE: Control Orders under the COVID-19 Circuit Breaker Measures

Under the new circuit breaker measures introduced to combat the spread of COVID-19, one of the key safeguards is the imposition of control orders. On 7 April 2020, the COVID-19 (Temporary Measures) (Control Order) Regulations 2020 ("Regulations") were issued under the Act to impose restrictions on (i) premises and businesses in relation to the closure of premises and the respective controls on essential and non-essential service providers; and (ii) the movement of people, both in public places and in places of residence. In this Update, we provide a summary of the movements which are or are not permitted under the Regulations.

Singapore | General | 09 April 2020
THAILAND: COVID-19: Company Meetings and Filings in the Current Situation

The government has introduced several measures to alleviate the impact of COVID-19 on business operations in Thailand, namely, several notifications to relax requirements and obligations on the part of business operators. These include, among others, the requirements for corporate entities to hold their annual general meeting and submit financial statements and reports to the authorities. Below is a summary of these measures and relevant guidelines as at 9 April 2020.

Thailand | Corporate Governance | 09 April 2020
MALAYSIA: Processing Personal Data in the Context of COVID-19 and the Movement Control Order

In light of the COVID-19 outbreak in Malaysia, organisations will likely face questions in respect of their right to share and disclose personal data of employees, customers and visitors to their premises (in particular, after the end of the Movement Control Order when business resumes as usual) for the purpose of contact tracing or to take other response measures.

In this client update, we explore the possible legal grounds for the collection, disclosure and retention of personal data under the Personal Data Protection Act 2010 in the context of the COVID-19 outbreak.

Malaysia | Data Privacy | 08 April 2020
SINGAPORE: Measures and Relief against COVID-19 and their Impact on Property Owners and Tenants

A suite of relief measures has been rolled out by the Government through the Unity Budget, the Resilience Budget and the Solidarity Budget given the COVID-19 outbreak. Amongst other things, the measures include property tax rebates for owners of eligible properties and rental waivers for tenants of Government agencies. To supplement these measures, the Government, on 7 April 2020, passed the COVID-19 (Temporary Measures) Act 2020 ("Act"). The Act provides targeted and temporary relief for parties that, due to the ongoing COVID 19 outbreak, find themselves unable to perform obligations under the scheduled contracts. This Update provides a summary of these measures and their impact on property owners and tenants.

Singapore | Support Measures | 08 April 2020
SINGAPORE: In Solidarity: Third Budget to Support Businesses through COVID-19 Circuit Breaker Measures

On 3 April 2020, Singapore announced that she was moving to implement circuit breaker measures to control the spread of COVID-19. As covered in our earlier Client Update, these circuit breaker measures include school closures and shutdowns for all businesses except those providing essential services, and will remain in place from 7 April 2020 to 4 May 2020 (both dates inclusive).

To alleviate the hardship consequent upon business closures, the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Finance, Mr Heng Swee Keat, announced the S$5.1 billion Solidarity Budget on 6 April 2020, of which S$4 billion will go towards supporting businesses and workers.

This Update discusses the additional support provided for businesses, which includes measures such as further enhancements to the Jobs Support Scheme and rebates for foreign worker levies paid in 2020. It also covers other relief measures employed by the Monetary Authority of Singapore ("MAS") to assist small and medium enterprises ("SMEs") with continued access to bank credit and insurance cover, and to ensure interbank funding markets remain liquid and well-functioning.

Singapore | Support Measures | 08 April 2020
SINGAPORE: Joint Ministerial Statement on Ensuring Supply Chain Connectivity amidst COVID-19 Situation

On 7 April 2020, a Joint Ministerial Statement was issued by Singapore, Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Chile, Lao PDR, Myanmar, New Zealand and Uruguay regarding their collective response to combat COVID-19 and its repercussions on trade disruptions. In this Update, we highlight the commitments by the countries to maintaining open and connected supply chains, and to working closely to identify and address trade disruptions with ramifications on the flow of necessities.

Singapore | Trade | 07 April 2020
SINGAPORE: COVID-19 Circuit Breaker Measures: Court Proceedings for Essential and Urgent Matters Only

On 3 April 2020, the Singapore Government announced an elevated set of safe distancing measures to be in place from 7 April 2020 until 4 May 2020 ("Relevant Period"). As part of this initiative, on 6 April 2020, the Supreme Court, State Courts and Family Justice Courts announced that they will hear only essential and urgent matters in the Relevant Period. Registrars' Circulars ("Circulars") have been issued by each of the three Courts to identify the matters that may be considered to be essential and urgent. In this Update, we highlight the key elements of the Circulars, including the identified essential and urgent matters and the relevant timelines and processes.

Singapore | General | 07 April 2020
PHILIPPINES: PCC Suspends Merger Process and Timelines Due to Enhanced Community Quarantine

The Philippine Competition Commission (PCC) has suspended certain activities in view of the enhanced community quarantine imposed by the Philippine government in response to the worsening COVID-19 outbreak in the Philippines. The quarantine was announced in the evening of 16 March 2020, and is currently scheduled to end on 14 April 2020.

Philippines | Mergers & Acquisitions | 06 April 2020
SINGAPORE: Covid-19 Circuit Breaker Measures - Asset Management

On 3 April 2020, the Singapore Multi-Ministry Taskforce announced that an elevated set of safe distancing measures will be in place from 7 April 2020 until 4 May 2020. Notably, there will be a suspension of activities at all workplace premises, subject to certain exemptions for selected essential services ("Essential Services"). Entities providing asset management services ("Fund Management Companies") are included as providers of Essential Services. In this Update, we highlight the key aspects of the exemption for Fund Management Companies and the requirements they are subject to during this period.

Singapore | General | 06 April 2020
SINGAPORE: COVID-19 Circuit Breaker Measures: Suspension of Activities at Workplace

On 3 April 2020, the Singapore Multi-Ministry Taskforce announced that an elevated set of safe distancing measures will be in place from 7 April 2020 until 4 May 2020. These enhanced measures aim to act as a circuit breaker to control the spread of COVID-19 in Singapore by minimising movements and interaction in public and private places. Notably, there will be a suspension of activities at all workplace premises, subject to certain exemptions for selected essential services. In this Update, we highlight the scope and key aspects of the measures requiring the suspension of activities at all workplace premises.

Singapore | General | 05 April 2020
INDONESIA: AHP Covid-19 Dispatch

As countries around the world work to tackle the spread of Covid-19, the threat of business interruption has become real, throwing arrangements into disarray, disrupting workforce, and upsetting the global economy.

In Indonesia, the government has begun issuing various countermeasures and relief for businesses and public alike. AHP Covid-19 Dispatch provides a summary of legislation and government updates issued to navigate the Covid-19 outbreak. In this Update, we review the circular letter from the Ministry of Land Affairs (Kementerian ATR-BPN) requiring certain land-related services to be done online, and its potential impact to the current condition of land filings.

Indonesia | General | 03 April 2020
MALAYSIA: Movement Control Order (Extended) – the Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases (Measures within Infected Local Areas) (No. 2) Regulations 2020

On 25 March 2020, the Prime Minister's Office announced that the movement control order ("MCO") will be extended by two weeks to 14 April 2020.

Following that announcement, the Government gazetted the Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases (Measures within Infected Local Areas) (No. 2) Regulations 2020 ("MCO2 Regulations") which are to be effective for the period of 1 April 2020 to 14 April 2020. Whilst the provisions of the MCO2 Regulations contain similarities to those set out in the Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases (Measures within Infected Local Areas) Regulations 2020 ("MCO1 Regulations") for the initial MCO period, there are additional conditions imposed and variations to the definition of essential services under the MCO2 Regulations.

Following the gazetting of the MCO2 Regulations, the National Security Council released FAQs on 2 April 2020 and 3 April 2020 to provide clarifications on the MCO2 Regulations.

Malaysia | General | 03 April 2020
SINGAPORE: COVID-19 AGM Pack

As COVID-19 ravages the globe, governments are upending the rules on nearly every aspect of our lives almost daily. These include various social distancing measures to contain the outbreak. Issuers listed on SGX-ST Mainboard and Catalist are facing unprecedented challenges in conducting annual general meetings ("AGMs") and meetings in a manner that complies with new legal requirements, guidance and advisories from various regulatory authorities.

We are pleased to bring you the COVID-19 AGM Pack that collates our Updates that share with you the latest legislative developments and advisories relating to the conduct of AGMs amid the COVID-19 outbreak. These include our latest Update titled “Listed Issuers' Meetings to Comply with Safe Distancing Measures Amid COVID-19” which discusses the draft COVID-19 (Temporary Measures) Bill that provides for, among other things, temporary alternative arrangements for conducting meetings in a manner that complies with the prevailing safe distancing measures. The Bill is expected to be introduced in Parliament next week and anticipated to be passed into law shortly after.

Singapore | Corporate Governance | 03 April 2020
SINGAPORE: Temporary Relief for Breach of Contract under the New COVID-19 Bill

The new COVID-19 (Temporary Measures) Bill ("COVID Bill") will be introduced in Parliament next week and is anticipated to be passed into law shortly after. As the title suggests, the COVID Bill is intended to provide targeted and temporary relief for parties that due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, find themselves unable to perform obligations under certain scheduled contracts – including contracts to which the government is a party. The COVID Bill will also temporarily increase the existing bankruptcy and insolvency thresholds for individuals and businesses respectively, as well as provide more time to respond to statutory demands from creditors. This Update provides a summary of these temporary reliefs under the COVID Bill.

Singapore | Contracts | 03 April 2020
SINGAPORE: Lex Mundi Global Report on COVID-19 Government Support Measures

The economic fallout from the COVID-19 shockwave places many companies at financial risk. As governmental authorities formulate and roll-out new support measures intended to throw companies a lifeline, the Lex Mundi full-service member firms have come together to provide a snapshot of the policies implemented and announced in 104 jurisdictions.

In this wide-reaching report, the content for each jurisdiction is provided locally, by experts on the ground steeped in the local legal business culture. The guide gives a quick and comparative reference for the policies and measures across the respective jurisdictions.

Our Competition & Antitrust and Trade Practice contributed to the Singapore chapter of this guide, which will be regularly updated to take into account changes and additions to the measures announced thus far. If you have any question, do not hesitate to contact Ms Kala Anandarajah (kala.anandarajah@rajahtann.com).

For more information, please click here for the full guide. An interactive version of the guide will be uploaded shortly to the Lex Mundi website.

Singapore | General | 03 April 2020
SINGAPORE: Laws Enforcing Telecommuting, Safe Distancing (and More) at Workplace Take Effect 2 April 2020

On 1 April 2020, the Infectious Diseases (Workplace Measures to Prevent Spread of COVID-19) Regulations 2020 ("Regulations") were issued to give legal force to prevention measures against the spread of COVID-19 at the workplace. The Regulations apply throughout the control period of 2 April 2020 to 30 April 2020, inclusive of both dates. Its rapid implementation indicates the gravity of the current situation and the government's determination to ensure compliance. The Regulations apply to employers, principals, and occupiers, and set out prevention measures against the spread of COVID-19 to be put in place at the workplace, including safe distancing and telecommuting.

[Note: Following the Singapore Government announcements on 3 April 2020, new enhanced safe distancing measures will take effect on 7 April 2020. This relates most importantly to the need to work from home. The measures have been significantly tightened, with the critical point that “reasonably practicable” has been removed. The measures critically result in the requirement to close all workplace premises and retail outlets except for certain specified essential services. Non-compliance will result in an offence. This Update must thus be read with reference to these new measures.]

Singapore | Workplace & Employment | 03 April 2020
SINGAPORE: Keeping the Judicial Wheels Turning: Remote Proceedings in Singapore Courts amid COVID-19

The Ministry of Law has issued a press release announcing that it intends to introduce the COVID-19 (Temporary Measures) Bill ("Bill") in Parliament next week. The Bill includes proposed provisions allowing for the conduct of court proceedings using remote communication technology so as to avoid individuals having to physically appear in court. Rajah & Tann Singapore is well placed to manage remote court proceedings, having supported the pilot remote hearings before the Singapore courts and being fully equipped with remote communication technology. In this Update, we highlight the key aspects of the Bill as it relates to remote proceedings in court.

Singapore | General | 03 April 2020
VIETNAM: Covid-19 – A Force Majeure Event From Vietnam’s Legal Perspective

The respiratory disease caused by a new strain of virus, Covid-19, is a global pandemic spreading over 200 countries and territories, with hundreds of thousands of infections and deaths without any sign of the situation easing. The Covid-19 outbreak has severely affected the global supply chain of goods and the operations of enterprises in numerous sectors from manufacturing to services. Many enterprises are currently unable to perform their executed contracts due to the shortage of labour and raw materials supply, as well as the administrative measures and/or decisions of the state agencies to isolate persons who are infected with the disease.

It is a legal concern of many enterprises whether the Covid-19 outbreak constitutes a Force Majeure event that would warrant an exemption from liabilities or penalties in the event of a breach of a contract.

This Update provides an overview of the concept of a Force Majeure event, and a legal analysis of the Covid-19 outbreak from Vietnam’s legal perspective.   

Vietnam | Contracts | 03 April 2020
INDONESIA: AHP Covid-19 Dispatch

As countries around the world work to tackle the spread of Covid-19, the threat of business interruption has become real, throwing arrangements into disarray, disrupting workforce, and upsetting the global economy.

In Indonesia, the government has begun issuing various countermeasures and relief for businesses and public alike. In this update, we provide a summary of legislation and government updates issued to navigate the Covid-19 outbreak, specifically on the following areas:

  1. Banking and Finance
  2. Disputes Resolution
  3. Tax and Custom
Indonesia | General | 02 April 2020
SINGAPORE: Listed Issuers' Meetings to Comply with Safe Distancing Measures Amid COVID-19

The impact of COVID-19 is greatly felt and measures are being introduced by the Singapore Government to try to minimise further spread of COVID-19. These include safe distancing measures that would render the holding of annual general meetings ("AGMs") or shareholder meetings difficult for issuers listed on the SGX-ST Mainboard and Catalist which have a large shareholder base.

Issuers are expected to comply with the prevailing safe distancing measures which, among other things, require the organiser of an AGM to ensure that not more than ten individuals are present at the event at any one time. On 31 March 2020, Singapore Exchange Regulation (SGX RegCo), the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA) and the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) jointly issued an updated guidance for issuers on the alternative arrangements that may be adopted to ensure that their AGMs are conducted in a manner that complies with the safe distancing measures. On 2 April 2020, the draft COVID-19 (Temporary Measures) Bill which provides for temporary alternative arrangements for conducting meetings in a manner that complies with the Safe Distancing Measures was made available on the Ministry of Law website. This Update provides a summary of this development.

Singapore | Corporate Governance | 02 April 2020
INDONESIA: AHP Covid-19 Dispatch

As countries around the world work to tackle the spread of Covid-19, the threat of business interruption has become real, throwing arrangements into disarray, disrupting workforce, and upsetting the global economy.

In Indonesia, the government has begun issuing various countermeasures and relief for businesses and public alike. AHP Covid-19 Dispatch provides a summary of legislation and government updates issued to navigate the Covid-19 outbreak.

Indonesia | General | 01 April 2020
INDONESIA: Covid-19 Response: Between Lockdown, Quarantine and Massive Social Restriction

For the last couple of weeks, the term 'lockdown' has been frequently mentioned both in official media, as well as social media. Some argue that it will be the most pressing and effective action to prevent viruses spread; others appeal to take a closer look as it may adversely affect state economy and livelihood of workers in the informal economy.

Perhaps unknown by many, the government had issued a law on health quarantine (Law No. 6 of 2018 on Health Quarantine) in 2018. This law regulates various types of actions, including massive social restriction and quarantines that can be taken by the government in preventing the spread of a disease and/or any health risk.

Indonesia | General | 31 March 2020
SINGAPORE: COVID-19 Resilience Budget and MOM Relief Measures: Additional Support for Businesses

Since the announcement of Budget 2020 (also known as the Unity Budget) a bare five weeks ago, the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, Mr Heng Swee Keat, has unveiled the S$48 billion Resilience Budget on 26 March 2020 to help Singapore weather the "mighty storm" of COVID-19. In a mark of the extraordinary times, this is only the second time that Singapore's reserves have been drawn on in her history.

Apart from the relief measures that directly assist households, the Resilience Budget sets aside funds to implement new schemes and enhance existing ones to support businesses in these crippling times. Key measures are elaborated on below, together with a consolidation of recent non-Budget measures implemented by the Ministry of Manpower ("MOM") to provide relief to employers to cope with manpower issues.

Singapore | Support Measures | 31 March 2020
THAILAND: COVID-19 & Employment Issues in Thailand

On 25 March 2020, the Prime Minister announced a state of emergency under the Emergency Decree, which gives authority to the Prime Minister to announce further implementing notifications and measures to combat the COVID-19 outbreak in Thailand. Such notifications and measures will affect entrepreneurs or employers directly and indirectly. In light of the COVID-19 situation, we set out below our legal comments concerning employment issues affecting employers and employees. Thailand's response to COVID-19 must be monitored on a daily basis; however, we have set out below the status as at 31 March 2020.

Thailand | Workplace & Employment | 31 March 2020
INDONESIA: Indonesia Temporarily Halts Export of Masks and Medical Protective Equipment

Following the announcement from the World Health Organization that declared Covid-19 as a pandemic, the Indonesian government continues making adjustment and taking steps to deal with the outbreak. As of 23 March 2020, there were 579 confirmed COVID-19 cases, with 49 deaths and 30 recovery. Globally, the pneumonia-like illness has infected more than 330,000 people and taken at least 14,000 lives. 

Amidst this outbreak, the Indonesian Central Statistics Agency noted an increase in the export of protective masks from Indonesia to trading partner countries by an average of 3,000% during February 2020. Given that Indonesia is currently suffering from a shortage of protective masks due to panic buying and an increase of price, the Indonesian government issued the Minister of Trade Regulation No. 23 of 2020 on the Temporary Ban of Export of Antiseptics, Raw Materials for Masks, Personal Protective Equipment and Masks on 17 March 2020 ("Regulation") prohibiting the export of antiseptics, raw materials for masks, personal protective equipment and masks that fall under specified Tariff Post/Harmonized System.

The temporary ban of export started on 18 March 2020 and will end on 30 June 2020. Non-compliance with the Regulation will subject the errant exporters to sanctions provided for by the prevailing laws and regulations.

Indonesia | Trade | 24 March 2020
MALAYSIA: Movement Control Order - Construction Industry: Update on "Critical Works"

On 23 March 2020, the Malaysian Ministry of Works ("KKR") issued an update to its list of Frequently Asked Questions ("FAQ2") in efforts to provide clarity and clear communication to address the queries affecting the construction industry arising from the implementation of the Malaysian Movement Control Order. A key highlight of the FAQ2 is that, in acknowledgment of the importance of ensuring the safety and cleanliness at the construction site during Restriction Period, KKR has revised the examples of “critical works” previously listed in its Frequently Asked Questions issued on 18 March 2020 (FAQ1).

Malaysia | Building & Construction | 24 March 2020
MALAYSIA: Movement Control Order – Update on Employment Issues

Since the issuance of the Movement Control Order by the Government of Malaysia ("MCO”), business has slowed substantially for essential services providers and come to a standstill for others. The prospect of the MCO being extended beyond the initial restriction period, i.e. 18 March 2020 to 31 March 2020, is weighing heavily on the minds of business owners. The need to minimise expenses and conserve cash at a time when revenue has fallen substantially has given rise to questions of what employers can do to secure their business and at the same time support their employees.

In this Update, we examine various laws and pronouncements and explain their effects on the employer-employee relationship. We analyse in particular the two FAQs issued by the Ministry of Human Resources on 19 March 2020 and 20 March 2020.

Malaysia | Workplace & Employment | 23 March 2020
SINGAPORE: Holding AGMs Amid COVID-19: Guidance from SGX RegCo

On 19 March 2020, the Singapore Exchange Regulation ("SGX RegCo") provided guidance on the holding of general meetings amid the COVID-19 situation, in furtherance of the latest advisories from the Ministry of Health. The SGX RegCo's guidance was developed in consultation with the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority and the Monetary Authority of Singapore.

This guidance is a welcome complement to SGX RegCo's previous announcement providing issuers listed on the SGX-ST Mainboard and Catalist which meet certain criteria two more months to hold their annual general meetings ("AGMs") to approve their 31 December 2019 financial results.

This Update sets out further guidance by SGX RegCo on the holding of AGMs/general meetings amid the challenges posed by the COVID-19 situation.

 

Singapore | Corporate Governance | 23 March 2020
INDONESIA: Indonesian Government Begins Easing Rules in Light of COVID-19

In light of the spread of  the Covid-19 outbreak, on 18 March 2020, the OJK, Indonesia's Financial Services Authority, relaxed the rules on submission of reports and holding of general meeting of shareholders for public companies. Under OJK Letter No. S-92/D.04/2020 ("Letter"), OJK not only extends the deadline for the submission of several reports, including annual reports and financial statements, but also touches upon the holding of a general meeting of shareholders ("GMS") via an e-proxy.

Indonesia | Corporate Governance | 20 March 2020
MALAYSIA: Movement Control Order – How Does It Affect the Construction Sector?

Since 16 March 2020, Malaysia has been abuzz following the announcement by the Prime Minister of the implementation of a Movement Control Order ("MCO"). The MCO restricts the movement of anyone to, fro and within an infected area. Following the announcement, the Government of Malaysia has gazetted the Prevention and Control (Measures Within the Infected Areas) Regulations 2020 ("Regulations") which shall take effect from 18 March 2020 to 31 March 2020 ("Restriction Period"). Under the Regulations, the whole of Malaysia has been defined as an infected area.

Following the Prime Minister's announcement, the different sectors of the construction industry have sought clarification and guidance as to whether the type of construction, operation and/or maintenance work that they perform are classified or may be construed within the purview of Essential Services and/or be considered as critical works. To provide clarity, the Ministry of Works has made a further announcement that all construction work shall be subject to the MCO. Accordingly, all construction and maintenance work must stop. Only critical works are allowed to continue.

This FAQ strives to provide answers to the pertinent questions, addressing the perspective from both the public and private sectors, of the construction industry in general and a brief commentary on specific industry(ies) consequent upon the MCO, its impact and what steps need to be taken by these sectors during the Restriction Period.

Malaysia | Building & Construction | 20 March 2020
MALAYSIA: Movement Control Order - How Does It Affect the Manufacturing Sector?

Manufacturing was not explicitly named as one of the essential services under the Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases (Measures within the Infected Local Areas) Regulations 2020. However, the essential services list does provide for "any services or works determined by the Minister as essential or critical to public health or safety" to continue to operate during the Movement Control Order period between 18 March 2020 to 31 March 2020 ("Restriction Period"). On 18 March 2020, the National Security Council and the Ministry of International Trade and Industry issued corresponding press statement and circular to allow certain manufacturing companies to operate during the Restriction Period if such companies are producing critical products.

Malaysia | Manufacturing | 20 March 2020
MALAYSIA: The Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases (Measures Within the Infected Local Areas) Regulations 2020 – Containing the COVID-19 Outbreak in Malaysia

Following a sharp increase in the number of persons infected by the COVID-19 virus, the Malaysian Government has gazetted the Prevention and Control (Measures Within the Infected Areas) Regulations 2020 ("Regulations"). The Regulations are to have effect from 18 March 2020 to 31 March 2020. This followed the announcement by the Prime Minister’s Office on 16 March 2020 of a Movement Control Order, which according to the announcement, will be enforced under the Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases Act 1988 and the Police Act 1967. The Regulations were issued subsequent to the Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases (Declaration of Infected Local Areas) Order 2020 which declared all states and federal territories of Malaysia as infected local areas.

Malaysia | General | 18 March 2020
SINGAPORE: Latest - Tripartite Advisory on Managing Excess Manpower and Responsible Retrenchment in View of COVID-19

In view of COVID-19, the Ministry of Manpower, the National Trade Union Congress and Singapore National Employers Federation issued an update to their Advisory on Managing Excess Manpower and Responsible Retrenchment ("Advisory") on 11 March 2020. The Advisory sets out possible measures to manage excess manpower and is intended to help employees continue to retain a job amidst a likely prolonged difficult period even as employers work towards keeping their businesses and employees' jobs viable. We highlight some of these updates below.

Singapore | Workplace & Employment | 17 March 2020
INDONESIA: Market Condition Pushes the OJK to Relax Buyback Procedures

Indonesia's financial services authority, Otoritas Jasa Keuangan or "OJK", recently issued a circular that allows all issuers or public companies to conduct a buyback of shares without convening a general meeting of shareholders. 

In OJK Circular Letter No. 3/SEOJK.04/2020 on Other Conditions as Significantly Fluctuating Market Conditions in the Implementation of Shares Buyback by Issuers or Public Companies ("Circular"), the OJK states that the trading condition in the Indonesia Stock Exchange (IDX) has experienced significant pressure as evidenced by the decline in the Composite Stock Price Index (IHSG) by 18.46% from the beginning of 2020 until the date of the Circular. The economy is also slowing down due to regional and national pressure, including as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak. 

The revision to the buyback procedure is an attempt by the government to provide economic stimulus to the market and at the same time reducing the adverse impact from the current market condition.

Indonesia | Corporate Governance | 12 March 2020
SINGAPORE: In Containing COVID-19 and Complying with the PDPA: Practical Tips

As part of the DORSCON Orange risk assessment, organisations have started implementing precautionary measures to minimise the risk of further transmission of COVID-19, including requiring visitors and employees to fill in health declaration forms to enable ease of contract tracing. When implementing these measures, organisations should be aware that large amounts of personal data may be amassed, and hence should pay particular attention in complying with the Personal Data Protection Act 2012 ("PDPA"). The Personal Data Protection Commission has released an "Advisory on Collection of Personal Data for COVID-19 Contact Tracing" on 13 February 2020 ("Advisory") to provide some guidance in this regard. In this Update, we look at the key aspects of the Advisory and how organisations can ensure compliance with the PDPA.

Singapore | Data Privacy | 12 March 2020
SINGAPORE: Deadline for Holding AGMs for SGX-ST Listed Issuers Extended to 30 June 2020 Due to Covid-19 Outbreak

Issuers listed on the SGX-ST Mainboard and Catalist are given two more months to hold their annual general meetings ("AGMs") to approve their 31 December 2019 financial results. Under the Listing Rules of the SGX-ST Mainboard and Catalist, issuers are required to hold their AGMs within four months from the end of their financial years. However, in response to feedback by shareholders who want to participate in and vote at AGMs but may be concerned about attending large-group meetings amid the COVID-19 outbreak, on 27 February 2020, Singapore Exchange Regulation (SGX RegCo) announced that a waiver from the foregoing requirement will be granted to issuers which satisfy the prescribed criteria ("Waiver"). Issuers which are granted the Waiver have up to 30 June 2020 to hold their AGMs.

This Update provides a brief overview of the relevant requirements and the steps issuers can take to obtain the Waiver.

Singapore | Corporate Governance | 06 March 2020
MALAYSIA: Legal Analysis of COVID-19 Outbreak: What Businesses Should Be Aware Of

On 30 January 2019, the World Health Organisation declared the coronavirus disease 2019 ("COVID-19") a public health emergency of international concern. More than 90,000 people globally have been infected in a short span of two months, sending shockwaves through the global economy. Every business has been affected in some way or the other by COVID-19 and the measures taken by governments and authorities to contain its outbreak.

The first part of this guide provides a legal analysis on the potential impact of COVID-19 on seven crucial Malaysian economic sectors, namely, Building & Construction, Energy & Power, Events & Sports, Hospitality & Tourism, Oil & Gas, Real Estate & Retail, and Shipping & Trade. In the second section of this guide, we examine the general legal implications on contracts, employment, personal data protection, financing, mergers & acquisitions, and social media.

Malaysia | General | 05 March 2020
SINGAPORE: FAQs for Employers: Practical Tips on Dealing with the COVID-19 Outbreak

The COVID-19 outbreak across the world has had a major impact on the economy in many countries, with the Ministry of Trade and Industry downgrading Singapore's 2020 GDP growth forecast to -0.5% to 1.5% on 17 February 2020. With the economy and businesses taking a beating, all quarters in Singapore are holding on to the hope that the situation in Singapore will stabilise soon. The Singapore Government has taken a practical approach to contain the spread of the virus while urging the public to continue business as usual where possible.

As businesses adapt to the evolving situation, we address some frequently asked questions on an employer's obligation to comply with the Singapore Government's defensive measures and to provide a safe workplace for their employees while maintaining business continuity.

Singapore | Workplace & Employment | 25 February 2020
SINGAPORE: FAQ on COVID-19 and its Potential Impact on Contracts

The COVID-19 outbreak has been a jarring development across the globe, bringing about much uncertainty in the commercial world. In this Update, we look at some of the common questions regarding the potential legal impact of the COVID-19 outbreak on contracts and agreements. This includes a focus on force majeure, frustration and the obstructions which may arise in specific industries such as Shipping & International Trade, Construction & Projects, and Hospitality and Tourism.

 

Singapore | Contracts | 20 February 2020


List show all articles. Click here to see recent 5 articles.