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The Malaysia Competition Commission (“MyCC”) has initiated the process of amending the Competition Act 2010 (“Act”) to introduce merger control regulations and the Ministry of Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs is planning to table the legislative amendments to the Act by the end of 2021. Once in force, mergers and acquisitions which exceed certain thresholds will need to be reviewed and approved by the MyCC.  This will greatly impact the timing, feasibility and structure of transactions in Malaysia.

The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) has charged a company and its director under the new corporate liability offence in connection with a count of bribery worth RM 321,350 paid to secure a subcontract.

This marks the first case under the new corporate liability regime and clearly demonstrates the MACC’s commitment in enforcing the corporate liability offence under Section 17A of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission Act 2009 (“Section 17A”), which recently came into force on 1 June 2020. 

In light of this, commercial organisations are urged to take immediate steps to ensure that they have in place “Adequate Procedures” as a statutory defence against an offence under Section 17A.

On 19 February 2021, the majority of the Malaysian Federal Court (“Federal Court”) delivered its much-anticipated judgment in Peguam Negara Malaysia v Mkini Dotcom Sdn Bhd and Another [2020] 4 MLJ 791 in respect of the allegation of contempt of court by way of comments posted by subscribers and readers on the Malaysiakini news portal on 9 June 2020.

The Federal Court in its majority decision held that Malaysiakini, an online platform provider, is liable  for third party comments which are offensive and inappropriate even though they had no knowledge of the same until notified and where the impugned comments were then promptly removed. Further, compliance with the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Content Code (“Content Code”) did not shield Malaysiakini from liability. 

While the matter related to an offence of criminal contempt, the Federal Court’s decision is likely to impact and change the landscape of liability for online platform providers in Malaysia with regard to third party content. 

The Malaysian Ministry of Housing and Local Government has announced that the request for proposal (RFP) for a waste-to-energy project in Sungai Udang, Malacca (“WtE Project”) will be released on 18 February 2021. Consistent with the previous RFP for the waste-to-energy project located in Bukit Payong that was issued in August 2020, the WtE Project will be carried out on a public-private partnership basis. We understand the WtE Project is near to a current sanitary landfill and the driver is to reduce waste disposal rate at the landfill.

The WtE Project is the second of the six proposed waste-to-energy projects that the federal government of Malaysia is planning to develop by 2021.

On 15 January 2021, the UK Supreme Court (“Supreme Court”) delivered its much-anticipated judgment in The Financial Conduct Authority v Arch Insurance (UK) Limited and Others [2021] UKSC 1 in respect of a representative sample of business interruption property insurance (“Business Interruption”) policies. 

In light of the decision by the Supreme Court to construe the relevant clauses broadly, we anticipate that there will be an increase in claims by policyholders for losses resulting from business interruptions caused by COVID-19 pandemic. 

Malaysian insurers are encouraged to revisit their existing Business Interruption policies, to consider how the existing policy wordings may be impacted by the judgment, and if needed, consider revising and refining their policies.

The Malaysian Finance Act 2020 introduced, among others, several legislative changes to the Malaysian Income Tax Act 1967 (ITA) in respect of transfer pricing. Notably, a penalty provision was introduced. Effective 1 January 2021, taxpayers (where applicable) who fail to furnish transfer pricing documentation (TPD) upon the Malaysian Inland Revenue Board’s (MIRB’s) request will be subject to a fine ranging from RM 20,000 to RM 100,000 and / or imprisonment.

Consistent with this, the MIRB has also revised the Transfer Pricing Guidelines 2012 to reduce the time given to taxpayers to furnish their TPD from 30 days to 14 days.