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John Mathew


Practice Area:

Dispute Resolution & Litigation

LLB (Hons) University Malaya
Advocate & Solicitor, High Court of Malaya

T +60 3 2273 1919 / +603 2267 2626

John heads Christopher & Lee Ong’s Dispute Resolution & Litigation Practice Group, and has been in legal practice for over 30 years.

His practice focuses on general civil litigation, banking litigation and advisory work.

John is a panel arbitrator with the Asian International Arbitration Centre (AIAC) and has served several years as a member of then Compensation Committee of Bursa Malaysia. In addition, John has been a Notary Public since 2004.

He is ranked as a Leading Dispute Resolution Lawyer by Asialaw Profiles 2019, and was named among the Commended External Counsel of the Year 2018 in Malaysia by the In-House Community. He is also ranked as Litigation Star by Benchmark Litigation Asia-Pacific 2021 edition.

Clients of the Firm notes his "vast knowledge in different areas of law", adding that he is "meticulous in his legal analysis".

  • Advised one of the largest full suite corporate functions solutions’ internal group restructuring, following completion of its major acquisition in 2018. Our advice which resulted in the necessary Court orders encompassed a range of key considerations. This included a contemplation of the financial strength and commercial sustainability of the relevant applicant companies (as well as the respective interests of directors, shareholders, creditors, clients and other third parties), for purposes of constructing applications in a manner that was sufficiently persuasive.
  • Successfully resisted a counterclaim for damages in relation to the preparation of a circular for the proposed merger of the businesses of two stockbroking companies and a proposed private placement of shares, in favour of the client, Alliance Investment Bank Bhd, at the High Court. The aggrieved party has appealed to the Court of Appeal, the hearing of which is pending.
  • Successfully represented China Commercial Foreign Trade (Singapore) Pte. Ltd. In obtaining an ex-parte injunction to, amongst others, restrain the presentation of a Letter of Credit issued by CIMB Bank Berhad (Singapore) in the value of approximately USD 6.165 million by the Defendant, KLS Diversified (M) Sdn. Bhd. and thereafter in further substantive applications to protect the interests of client.
  • Represented a successful bidder of a property at a Court-conducted auction (which was held pursuant to an enforcement of a legal charge by the chargee) in resisting purported claims made by alleged purchasers (who allegedly purchased from the chargor) over part of the same property. Successfully convinced the Court of Appeal to overturn the High Court’s decision such that the successful bidder concluded the purchase without being bound by the interests of other alleged purchasers of various units in the project.
  • Representing a leading technology provider in a complicated tripartite dispute involving the client, a Malaysian banking and financial services institution and a large Malaysian projects and construction company. The outcome of this complex dispute is crucial to our client’s reputation (given its involvement in Malaysia’s mega project) and financially. Following the substantial issues raised in the defence filed on behalf of our clients, the Plaintiff withdrew their claim against our clients and with costs payable to our client.
  • Advising a Japanese shipping company on a sale of its shares (in a joint venture company incorporated in Malaysia) to the other shareholder. This included advising on directors’ duties and deadlock provisions. Following the issuance of a deadlock notice and subsequent correspondence, our client and the other shareholder entered into good faith negotiations and successfully reached a mutual understanding where the other shareholder agreed to acquire our client’s shares in joint venture company at a price agreed to by our client.
  • Advising previous Indonesian shareholders of a large F&B franchise in resisting a claim brought by a Japanese publicly-listed company (Current Shareholders) in relation to a dispute arising from a Share Sale Agreement for the sale and purchase of the shares held in the company having the franchise.
  • Assisted a large banking and financial institution in respect of monetary claims made by global software and information platform against the client, arising from an agreement for the platform to implement a computer software system (System) for the client.
  • Acting for a multinational networking and telecommunications company against one of Malaysia’s leading telecommunications provider (“Counterparty”), whose parent company is a global telecommunications company, in a potential dispute arising from a framework agreement for the provision of operational support systems and other managed services for the Counterparty’s massive telecommunications infrastructure throughout Malaysia.
  • Acted in the issuance of the Millenium Bond Issue by Genting Sanyen Berhad.
  • Acted in various capital reduction exercises both of public listed and private companies.
  • Advised and acted in various corporate transactions including the ancillary required due diligence exercises.
  • Drafted and commented on various types of contractual arrangements.
  • Incorporated 2 companies limited by guarantee in the general insurance industry sector to facilitate the services provided by this sector.
  • Acted for YFG Berhad (which was classified as an affected listed issuer pursuant to Practice Note 17 (PN17) of the Main Market Listing Requirements of Bursa Malaysia Securities Berhad) and its subsidiaries in the proposed restructuring of the debts of YFG and its subsidiaries under Section 176 of the Companies Act 1965, including having successfully obtained restraining orders and resisted an application to set aside the restraining order and an appeal to the Court of Appeal therefrom and applications to oppose an extension of the restraining order.
  • Acted for the applicants in a scheme for a transfer of insurance business from one Labuan entity to another Labuan entity pursuant to Section 172 of the Labuan Financial Services and Securities Act 2010.
  • Acting for both transferor and transferee companies in applications made to the High Court for vesting orders to facilitate the transfer of the company secretarial, accounting, tax and payroll businesses between certain transferor companies and transferee companies in the Boardroom Group of Companies.
Reported Judgments
  • Datuk Hussain Bin Mohamed v. First Malaysia Finance Berhad & Anor [1990] 1 MLJ 369, High Court Malaya, Kuala Lumpur.
  • In Re First Malaysia Finance Bhd & In Re The Central Bank of Malaysia [1990] 2 CLJ Reprint 146.
  • Co-operative Central Bank Ltd. v. Sri Devi [1990] 1 MLJ 427, Supreme Court.
  • Jururus Ladang Sdn. Bhd. lwn. Tradewinds (M) Sdn. Bhd. [1991] 1 CLJ 276, High Court Malaya, Kuala Lumpur.
  • Wong Pot Heng v. Zainal Abidin Putih & Anor [1990] 1 CLJ Rep 312.
  • Revertex Ltd. & Anor. v. Slim Rivertex Sdn. Bhd. & ors. [1991] 1 MLJ 508, High Court Malaya, Kuala Lumpur.
  • Perwira Habib Bank (M) Bhd. v. Saiyo Sdn. Bhd. & ors. [1991] 3 CLJ 1849, High Court Malaya, Kuala Lumpur.
  • Bank Negara Malaysia v. Mohd. Ismail Ali Johor & ors. [1992] 1 MLJ 400, Supreme Court.
  • Overseas-Chinese Banking Corporation Limited v. Banhenly Holdings Sdn. Bhd. & ors. [1993] 2 CLJ 347, High Court Malaya, Muar.
  • Raja Zainal Abidin Raja Tachik & ors. v. British-American Life & General Insurance Bhd. [1993] 3 MLJ 16, Supreme Court.
  • National Land Finance Co-operative Society Ltd v. Ketua Pengarah Hasil Dalam Negeri [1994] 1 MLJ 99, Supreme Court.
  • PTSO v. KPHDN Special Commissioners of Income Tax, Malaysia [1997] 1 CLJ SUPP 309.
  • Malayan Banking Berhad v. Syarikat Seri Belian Sdn Bhd [1997] 4 CLJ Supp. 154, High Court Malaya, Melaka.
  • Harta Empat Sdn. Bhd. v. Koperasi Rakyat Bhd. [1997] 1 MLJ 381, Court of Appeal.
  • OCBC Bank (Malaysia) Bhd. v. Kredin Sdn. Bhd. [1997] 2 MLJ 544, Court of Appeal.
  • Malayan Banking Berhad v. Syarikat Seri Belian Sdn. Bhd. [1997] 4 CLJ SUPP 154; High Court.
  • Dato' Yap Peng & Ors v. Public Bank Bhd & ors [1997] 3 MLJ 484, Court of Appeal.
  • Meton Properties Sdn. Bhd. v. Ketua Pengarah Hasil Dalam Negeri [1998] 1 CLJ Supp. 204, High Court Malaya, Kuala Lumpur.
  • Kredin Sdn Bhd v. YTF Investments Sdn Bhd [1998] 1 MLJ 46, Court of Appeal.
  • Kredin Sdn Bhd v. OCBC Bank (Malaysia) Bhd [1998] 2 CLJ 797, Federal Court.
  • National Land Finance Co-Operative Society Ltd. v. Ketua Pengarah Hasil Dalam Negeri [1998] 4 CLJ SUPP 232; High Court.
  • Ketua Pengarah Hasil Dalam Negeri v. Malaysian Co-operative Insurance Society Ltd [2000] 1 MLJ 561, Court of Appeal.
  • Malaysian International Merchant Bankers Bhd. v. Lembaga Bersekutu Pemegang Amanah Pengajian Tinggi Islam Malaysia [2001] 1 CLJ 740.
  • Manjeet Singh a/l Santokh Singh v. CPA Australia Ltd & Ors [2013] 7 MLJ 729.
  • The Bank of Nova Scotia Bhd v. Saunah Kasni & Ors [2016] 1 CLJ 505.
  • TMF Trustees Malaysia Berhad v Offshore Works Sdn Bhd & 3 Ors [2016] 9 CLJ 137; High Court, Malaya, Kuala Lumpur.
  • QM Resources Sdn Bhd v. Parade Hotel Sdn. Bhd. & Ors. [2020] 1MLRA 227.
  • Lim Choon Seng v. Lim Poh Kwee [2020] 5 MLRA 76 (FC).
Unreported Judgments
  • Lloyds Bank International Ltd v. MPC Holdings Sdn. Bhd. & Anor [1992] 1 LNS 72, High Court.
  • Ontrade Finance Limited v. Landmark Enterprise Sdn. Bhd. & Ors [1993] 1 LNS 184, High Court.
  • Bank Bumiputra Malaysia Bhd v. Mutalib Bin Datuk Seri Razak [1994] 1 LNS 219, High Court.
  • Arab-Malaysian Finance Bhd v Ampang Granite Sdn Bhd. & Anor [1994] MLJU 206.
  • Oversea-Chinese Banking Corporation Ltd v. Kredin Sdn. Bhd. [1995] 1 LNS 146, High Court.
  • United Overseas Bank Limited v. Heap Huat Rubber Co Sdn Bhd [1995] 1 LNS 256, High Court Malaya, Johor Bahru.
  • OCBC Bank (Malaysia) Bhd v. Siong Holdings Sdn. Bhd. [1996] 1 LNS 502, High Court.
  • Chin Thian Guan v. Khoo Joo Eng & Ors [1996] 1 LNS 404.
  • Topland Management Corporation Sdn Bhd & Anor v. Bank Negara Malaysia [2005] 1 LNS 381.
  • Maybank Berhad and Anor v. Se Ching Thian and Others [2008] MLJU 358.
  • AmBank Berhad v. Idealmart Rukindo Sdn. Bhd. [2008] 1 LNS 21.
  • Azzatan Holdings Sdn. Bhd. and Others v. AmFinance Berhad and Anor [2009] MLJU 631.
  • Rand Worldwide Foreign Holdings Inc. v. Japri Maming & Another [2014] 1 LNS 902.
  • Lakshmi I/K Malayandy v. EK Housing Developer Sdn Bhd & Ors [2014] MLJU 1895.
  • YFG Berhad & 2 Ors v. Insanas Enterprise Sdn. Bhd. & 2 Ors [2016] 1 LNS 1084.
  • China Commercial Foreign Trade (Singapore) Pte Ltd v. KLS Diversified (M) Sdn Bhd [2020] MLJU 1240.
  • Arbitrator empanelled with the Asian International Arbitration Centre (AIAC)
  • Member, the Malaysian Institute of Arbitrators
  • Member, the Disciplinary Committee Panel established under the Legal Profession Act 1976
  • Director of Malaysia Smelting Corporation Berhad (a PLC listed in both Bursa Malaysia and SGX) (“MSC”) and sits in the Nomination and Remuneration Committee of the Board of MSC.
  • Director of several private companies and a local agent of a branch of a foreign company.