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Andre Gan

Andre Gan heads the Corporate, Commercial & Securities and Competition Practice Groups of Wong & Partners. His practice areas covers mergers and acquisitions, corporate securities, venture capital and private equity, and competition. Andre has been acknowledged by Chambers Asia Pacific as a Band 1 practitioner for Corporate/M&A. Andre is also a recognised competition practitioner and is recognised by Legal 500 Asia Pacific as a Leading Individual for Antirust and Competition in 2021. Andre led the Firm to be recognised as a Firm of the Year for Antitrust and Competition in 2021 by In-House Community Magazine. Andre has worked in the Singapore and London offices of Baker McKenzie.

While not new, AI is one of the key drivers of change and could boost productivity and cut costs. The use of distributed ledger technology is creating new products and services such as central bank digital currencies that could bring the unbanked to the financial mainstream. And the use of biometrics authentication promises to enhance the security available to users. While quantum computing remains beyond the next decade, it could have wide-ranging benefits to financial institutions but also leave the sector exposed to a higher level of cyberattacks.

We are pleased to share upcoming developments in relation to the Companies (Amendment) Act 2024 (“CA 2024”) which will anchor the revised beneficial ownership (BO) reporting framework. The approval process of the CA 2024 through the Malaysian Parliament was completed in December 2023. The CA 2024 subsequently received Royal Assent on 24 January 2024 and finally, the CA 2024 was gazetted on 2 February 2024. At this point in time, the CA 2024 has yet to be enforced.

In an effort to strengthen the working relationship and collaborative efforts of the Malaysia Competition Commission (MyCC) and the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC), both regulators have signed a Memorandum of Understanding on 3 August 2023 in light of the rising complexity of competition issues that straddles the jurisdictions of both regulators.

In 2020, MyCC imposed a total financial penalty of RM173 million against the General Insurance Association of Malaysia (PIAM) and its 23 members for alleged price-fixing of trade discounts on automotive parts prices and hourly labour rates for motor vehicle repairs by workshops under the PIAM Approved Repairers Scheme in breach of the Competition Act 2010. PIAM and the general insurers appealed to the Competition Appeal Tribunal (CAT). In September 2022, the CAT found that there was no liability on the part of the general insurers and PIAM under the Malaysian Competition Act and unanimously overturned MyCC’s decision.

Our team of over 300 antitrust experts around the world have collaborated to produce a truly innovative Global Merger Analysis Platform (GMAP). GMAP answers 90 detailed questions on merger control law in 120 jurisdictions. It is updated in real time, offering more depth and more legal certainty than existing products in the market.

On 25 April 2022, the Malaysia Competition Commission launched an online public consultation on proposed amendments to the Malaysian Competition Act 2010. Key amendments include (i) introduction of a merger control regime; and (ii) amendments to increase MyCC’s investigation and enforcement powers and enhance its procedures.

The revised draft Cyber Security Law released by the Ministry of Transport and Communications (MOTC) on 13 January 2022 (“Draft Law 2.0”) sets out certain requirements on a digital platform service provider (DPSP). Failure to comply with the requirements could result in a fine, suspension of the relevant digital platform service (DPS) or revocation of any existing license held by the DPSP. Additionally, the MOTC may act in the public interest and shut down any DPS in Myanmar. These provisions under the Draft Law 2.0, if enacted, may have a material impact on international digital platform operators with a substantial user base in Myanmar.

The revised draft Cyber Security Law released by the Ministry of Transport and Communications on 13 January 2022 appears to impose a broad prohibition on the use of virtual private networks in Myanmar unless specific permission is granted by the MOTC. The Draft Law 2.0 does not distinguish the use of VPN between consumers and businesses; any person found guilty of the offense shall be punishable by imprisonment of a minimum of one year to a maximum of three years or a fine not exceeding MMK 5 million (approximately USD 2,500) or both.

Cross-border lending in Asia Pacific continues to grow steadily despite external factors such as COVID-19. While the region is not immune to external factors, borrowing volumes for financial institutions, credit funds and other market participants remain high in Asia Pacific. Considering the demographics of many of the nations, the various financial centers and many market participants investing more substantially in some of those financial centers, we remain optimistic that lending activity across Asia Pacific will continue to grow.