Legal Updates for Apr 2020

Refinement in Foreign Exchange Policy with Respect to Financial Guarantees

The Central Bank of Malaysia has unveiled several changes to its Foreign Exchange Policy which are intended to provide greater flexibility, ease and efficiency to businesses. Amongst the new measures, which take effect from today, 30 April 2020, are the liberalising of the approval and registration process for financial guarantees. This Update provides a summary of the key aspects of these new measures

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.