Legal Updates

Legal Updates for Jul - 2020

Temporary Relief Measures for Tenants and Landlords, Purchasers and Developers in the COVID-19 (Temporary Measures) Amendment Act 2020 (Updated 7 July 2020)
On 5 June 2020, the COVID-19 (Temporary Measures) (Amendment) Bill 2020 was passed in Parliament. The COVID-19 (Temporary Measures) (Amendment) Act 2020 ("Amendment Act") was gazetted and came into force partially on 20 June 2020. The Amendment Act amends the COVID-19 (Temporary Measures) Act 2020 to provide for, amongst other changes, relief measures relating to tenants and landlords, purchasers and developers by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, including a framework for rental relief. These changes have yet to come into force.

On 7 July 2020, the Ministry of Law released a note on the rental relief framework in the Amendment Act, providing further details on the entitlement to rental relief and the relevant relief mechanism. The Ministry of Law has also indicated in this note that the rental relief provisions in the Amendment Act will come into force by end-July 2020.

We earlier issued a Client Update highlighting the key measures in the Amendment Act relating to tenants and landlords, intending purchasers and developers. The write-up has since been updated to reflect the clarifications provided by the Ministry of Law and to keep you in the know on the latest information.

Visit our COVID-19 Resource Centre for views from our lawyers across the region on common issues and legal implications brought about by COVID-19. For specific inquiries, please reach out to your relationship partner or send an email to our COVID-19 Legal Team.

10 Jul 2020 | Singapore

Cayman Islands Investments Funds to Register by 7 August 2020: New Private Funds Law and Mutual Funds (Amendment) Law of the Cayman Islands
In February 2020, the Cayman Islands government enacted the Private Funds Law, 2020. The Private Funds Law 2020, along with the Private Funds (Savings and Transitional Provisions) Regulations 2020 (together, "PFL") and an amendment to the Mutual Funds Law (2020 Revision) (the "MFL Amendment"), came into effect on 7 February 2020.

In essence, both the PFL and the MFL Amendment seek to impose registration requirements and regulations on investment funds domiciled in the Cayman Islands which were previously either not required to be registered or were regulated in a limited fashion. Steps for compliance must be completed by 7 August 2020.

This Update highlights the registration requirements under the PFL and the MFL Amendment and the steps required to be taken to comply with the PFL and the MFL Amendment before 7 August 2020.
09 Jul 2020 | Singapore

Enforcement of Awards / Judgments – Examining a Debtor on Assets in a Foreign Jurisdiction
To facilitate the enforcement of awards and judgments, the Singapore courts are empowered to make certain orders, including orders for the examination of a judgment debtor or its officer regarding the judgment debtor's property (referred to here as the "EJD" process). The recent Singapore Court of Appeal decision in Sun Travels & Tours Pvt Ltd v Hilton International Manage (Maldives) Pvt Ltd [2020] SGCA 65 concerned the types of questions permissible during the EJD process. In this appeal, the Appellant had objected to answering questions about its assets in the Maldives on the basis that those assets would not be available for satisfaction of the judgment debt.

Dismissing the Appellant's objections, the Court of Appeal confirmed that questions could be asked about assets of the judgment debtor in a foreign jurisdiction – regardless of the enforceability of the Singapore judgment there. In doing so, the Court of Appeal resolved the conflict in the earlier High Court decisions of Indian Overseas Bank v Sarabjit Singh [1990] 3 MLJ xx xi and Sun Travels & Tours Pvt Ltd v Hilton International Manage (Maldives) Pvt Ltd [2019] SGHC 291 (the latter being the decision which was the subject of the appeal). The Respondent was successfully represented by Paul Tan, Alessa Pang and David Isidore Tan of Rajah & Tann Singapore LLP, together with Toby Landau QC.
09 Jul 2020 | Singapore

Going Remote – Challenges Employers Face in Work from Home Arrangements

The term "the new norm" is widely used in mainstream media and can be said to have become synonymous with social distancing, the application of face masks, body temperature checks, etc. In the context of employment, this new norm can be associated with the Work-From-Home ("WFH") arrangements that allow employees to discharge their duties and obligations from home. Needless to say, the second quarter of 2020 has seen a sharp rise in the percentage of employees with WFH arrangements, particularly those from the service sector.

With the gradual lifting of government restrictions, we are now witnessing more economic sectors reopening. Things are slowly but surely reverting to “the old norm”. That said, there are businesses that continue to allow their employees to opt for WFH arrangements.

In this Update, we examine some of the challenges businesses face in the context of employment laws and highlight the need for effective WFH policies to be created and implemented.

08 Jul 2020 | Malaysia

MAS Consults on Environmental Risk Management Guidelines for Banks, Insurers and Asset Managers
The Monetary Authority of Singapore ("MAS") is seeking feedback on three sets of proposed Guidelines on Environmental Risk Management that will apply to: (i) banks, merchant banks and finance companies; (ii) insurers; and (iii) fund management companies and real estate investment trust managers (collectively, "Proposed Guidelines") set out in three consultation papers.

The Proposed Guidelines set out sound practices for these financial institutions in the following areas: (1) Governance; (2) Risk management; and (3) Disclosure of environmental risk. Each set of Proposed Guidelines is tailored to each sector based on its business activities and salient risk management practices pertinent to such sector.

Feedback on the three consultation papers are required to be submitted to MAS by 6.30pm, 7 August 2020.

This Update provides an overview of the Proposed Guidelines highlighting the scope of application and a summary of the salient features of the Proposed Guidelines.
08 Jul 2020 | Singapore

Singapore and China to Cooperate in the Field of Central Bank Digital Currency
As digital currencies continue to become more commonly used, central banks across the world have begun to explore the implementation of Central Bank Digital Currencies ("CBDC") to replace fiat cash. Mr Ravi Menon, the Managing Director of the Monetary Authority of Singapore, speaking at a financial forum in Shanghai, discussed the intention for cooperation between Singapore and China in relation to CBDCs. The exchange of knowledge and expertise between the two countries would be a significant aid for the respective CBDC programmes and would also open the door for future opportunities for collaboration. In this Update, we take a look at the CBDC efforts in Singapore and China and what this development could mean for their economies.
06 Jul 2020 | Singapore

Large Scale Solar Power Plants – Fourth Competitive Bidding Round (LSS@MEnTARI): Clarification on Foreign Participation

The Energy Commission/Suruhanjaya Tenaga ("ST") recently released its first response to queries received on LSS@MEnTARI regarding the Request for Proposal ("RFP"). Notably, some of the clarifications amount to what appears to be a major shift from the initial position in the RFP on participation by foreign players. The ST has now clarified that participation by foreign players in the bidding entity or any of its corporate shareholders will be permitted, subject to certain conditions. This represents a fundamental change in approach on the matter and it is expected that this would give rise to a significant increase in foreign interest in the LSS@MEnTARI programme.

03 Jul 2020 | Malaysia

Cebu City Under Enhanced Community Quarantine; Makati City Allows Payment of Realty and Business Taxes Online

Due to the rising number of COVID-19 cases and pursuant to Resolution No. 46-A of the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Disease, the local government of Cebu City, through Cebu City Executive Order No. 082 dated 17 June 2020 (“Order”), has imposed an enhanced community quarantine (“ECQ”) over its territory. Pursuant to the Order, a mandatory stay-at-home order is enforced for all residents. Travel and movement outside homes of residents of Cebu City shall be limited only to accessing basic necessities and services. Only one member of the household is allowed to leave the home. The travel and movement restrictions do not apply to several groups of residents including medical practitioners and health workers, emergency personnel, and authorised national and local government officials and employees.

In another development, the local government of Makati City announced on 17 June 2020 that the second-quarter payments for real property taxes and business taxes can be made online through this website: https://makationlinepayments.com/.

01 Jul 2020 | Philippines