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A new Companies (Amendment) Bill 2023 (“2023 CA Bill”) was tabled for its first reading at the Malaysian Parliament. The 2023 CA Bill purports to further augment corporate transparency and accountability, and as such, introduces, among other things, new legal requirements in the CA 2016 for Malaysian companies to collate and report beneficial ownership information to the Companies Commission of Malaysia. In this article, we explore the mandatory reporting requirements proposed under the 2023 CA Bill and their potential implications on the wealth management industry.

In a move towards regulating digital platforms, the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) announced on 5 September 2023 that it:
a. Had been in discussions with certain online platforms to address the challenges posed by the evolving landscape of online media
b. May be seeking to introduce a regulatory framework (in the manner of Australia and Canada) to ensure that news content creators are fairly compensated by online platform providers who use their content
c. Aims to implement “rules of the road” for implementation of artificial intelligence technology (AI)

It has been three years since Section 17A of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission Act 2009 came into effect, with the first charge under the provision made in 2021. The recent array of actions by the MACC coupled with the “zero tolerance for corruption” policy launched by the Madani Government provide a timely reminder of the importance of businesses in (i) reviewing their existing procedures and (ii) ensuring adequate procedures are in place to prevent bribery as they afford the only defense against liability under Section 17A.

Recently, we have observed that the labor authorities in Peninsular Malaysia have increased efforts to monitor employers’ compliance with the local laws and practice. With the expansion of the scope of the Malaysian Employment Act (EA) effective 1 January 2023 to cover all employees in Peninsular Malaysia (and Labuan), employers are reminded of their statutory obligations, especially those under the EA.

Following the re-tabling of the Malaysian Budget 2023 on 24 February 2023, the Malaysian Inland Revenue Board and Royal Malaysian Customs Department have reintroduced the Special Voluntary Disclosure Programme 2.0 and the Voluntary Disclosure Programme which apply to direct taxes and indirect taxes respectively. A similar programme was previously implemented in 2022 for indirect taxes and in 2019 for direct taxes, although there are some key differences in respect of the scope and incentives.

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.

On 27 July 2023, the Malaysian Ministry of Economy has published Part 1 of the National Energy Transition Roadmap (“NETR Part 1”) to effectively manage energy transition. Energy transition signifies a shift from a fossil fuel-dominated energy system to a greener system based on clean and renewable energy sources. The NETR Part 1 sets the direction of the Malaysian government in developing future capabilities and shaping demand in the green energy market, by providing ten flagship catalyst projects based on six energy transition levers.

The ratification of two of the world’s mega-regional free trade agreements, namely the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) and the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), marks a significant milestone for Malaysia in its pursuit of bolstering foreign investments and expanding its trade horizons.