eOasis is Rajah & Tann Asia’s legal publications portal, where you can view updates on the latest key legal and regulatory developments in Asia, prepared from a practitioner's viewpoint.

What's New on eOASIS

Admiralty Actions: Service of Warrants of Arrest and Writs on Agent; Dispensation of Security Guard
The maritime and shipping industry has had to adapt to ensure safe and responsible practices amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. In keeping with these efforts, the Supreme Court of Singapore has acknowledged the concerns involved in the requirement of in-person service of documents against a ship, and has addressed them by introducing temporary alternative methods of service. From 22 January 2021 and until further notice, service of Warrants of Arrest or Writs in an in rem action against a ship, freight or cargo may be effected by leaving or transmitting the same to the agent of the ship. In the same vein, security guards are also not required to be deployed on board an arrested ship with effect from 15 January 2021 and until further notice.

In this Update, we provide a summary of the requirements of the newly-introduced alternative methods of service and practical steps for complying with these requirements, as well as a discussion of the effect of the dispensation of security guards for ship arrests.
22 Jan 2021 | Singapore
Court of Appeal Determines When a Payment Claim Can Be Served After Termination of a Contract
The Building and Construction Industry Security of Payment Act provides a statutory mechanism through which contractors may serve payment claims on their employers. In the decision of Orion-One Residential Pte Ltd v Dong Cheng Construction Pte Ltd [2020] SGCA 121, the Singapore Court of Appeal considered the circumstances in which a payment claim can be validly served even after the termination of the underlying contract between the contractor and employer.

The Court of Appeal held that the proper approach is to first consider the terms of the contract, and whether the contract entitles the contractor to serve progress payment claims after termination of the contractor’s employment, rejecting the submission that the statutory entitlement to payment will automatically survive termination. This Update provides a summary of the key points of the Court of Appeal's decision.
21 Jan 2021 | Singapore
SGX Enhances Rules on Appointment of Auditors and Property Valuation
On 12 January 2021, the Singapore Exchange Regulation announced key changes to the SGX-ST Mainboard Rules and Catalist Rules (collectively, the "Listing Rules"). These changes enhance requirements concerning the appointment of auditors by certain listed issuers and property valuation matters.

The amended Listing Rules introduce a new requirement for primary listed issuers on SGX-ST to appoint an auditor registered with the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority to conduct their statutory audits and empower SGX to require the appointment of a second auditor under certain circumstances. The amended Listing Rules also impose minimum qualification criteria for property valuers and prescribed standards for property valuation reporting.

The amendments to the Listing Rules will be effective from 12 February 2021.

This Update provides an overview of the main changes to the Listing Rules, highlights salient requirements and specific timelines for the implementation of certain requirements.
21 Jan 2021 | Singapore
MEF Issues Prakas No. 009 on Reclassification of Taxpayers

The Ministry of Economy and Finance (“MEF”) has issued a Prakas No. 009 on the Reclassification of Taxpayers under the Self-Assessment Regime (or the Real Regime of Taxpayers) dated 12 January 2021 (“Prakas No. 009”). Prakas No. 009 applies to all taxpayers who have registered from 12 January 2021.

Prakas No. 009 aims to replace and reclassify the categorisation of taxpayers set out in Prakas No. 025 on the Classification of Taxpayers under the Self-Assessment Regime (or the Real Regime of Taxpayers) dated 24 January 2018.

20 Jan 2021 | Cambodia
Resurgence of COVID-19: New Measures

As the COVID-19 pandemic re-emerged in Thailand in December 2020, the Thai government has announced the extension of the Emergency Decree which applies to all areas of Thailand until 28 February 2021. As the restrictions inevitably cause impact on businesses and individuals, the government has also introduced several relief measures intended to relieve the impact of COVID-19, including labour related measures, financial aid to SMEs, and tax relief measures.  This Update highlights some of these key relief measures.

20 Jan 2021 | Thailand
Update on the Industrial Relations (Amendment) Act 2020

The Industrial Relations Act 1967 (“IRA”) is a piece of social legislation aimed to promote and maintain industrial harmony and regulate the relations between employers and workmen and their trade unions.

In this Update, we highlight the amendments to the IRA which came into force on 1 January 2021 and the potential impact of these changes on the employers and their workmen.

13 Jan 2021 | Malaysia
UK-Singapore Free Trade Agreement Effective From 1 January 2021: Ensuring Trade Continuity Post-Brexit
On 1 January 2021, the UK-Singapore Free Trade Agreement ("UKSFTA") took effect via provisional application, enabling the United Kingdom ("UK") and Singapore to apply treaty commitments under the UKSFTA on a provisional basis until it is ratified by both countries and enters into force. The UKSFTA aims to ensure trade continuity between Singapore and UK following the Brexit Transition period which expired on 31 December 2020, which had meant that the existing EU-Singapore Free Trade Agreement ("EUSFTA") stopped applying to UK-Singapore trade. The UKSFTA allows companies to continue enjoying the same benefits under the EUSFTA when trading between Singapore and UK. This was announced in the Ministry of Trade and Industry Singapore's ("MTI") press release dated 31 December 2020.

Based on the Joint Ministerial Statement by Singapore and UK, UK is amongst Singapore's top three European trading partners and is its top investment destination in Europe. On the other hand, Singapore is UK's largest trade and investment partner from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations ("ASEAN"). The UKSFTA covers more than S$30.5 billion (approximately £17 billion) of bilateral trade in goods and services. Given the existing trade volume and synergies between the two countries, we encourage you to review the UKSFTA closely to continue to take advantage of benefits now provided under the UKSFTA that were provided under the EUSFTA, and new benefits that the UKSFTA offers.

This Update hence highlights the key benefits under the UKSFTA, which include, amongst others, elimination of tariff for goods trade, liberal and flexible rules of origin ("ROO"), EU & ASEAN cumulation, reduction of technical and non-tariff barriers, enhanced market access to the services sector, more opportunities in government procurement, and enhanced intellectual property rights.
12 Jan 2021 | Singapore
Rajah & Tann Asia Regional Competition Report 2020
2020 has been an interesting year to say the least, with the COVID-19 outbreak changing the way we live, learn, work and play. One notable result has been the hastening of the shift towards e-commerce and platforms, a trend that many of the competition regulators in the region have picked up on and responded to, either by conducting market studies, issuing guidelines or conducting investigations in this area. Competition enforcement and activity by the competition regulators in the region also remained high in the other traditional areas, such as merger review, cartel enforcement and investigations.

Many of your businesses would be impacted by these competition developments, and it is critical for businesses to keep abreast of these legislative and enforcement updates. Hence, we thought that a wrap of the Year in a 2020 Report touching on the countries that we have market leading presence in, i.e. across Southeast Asia, would lend a personal touch to better understanding the climate in each of the countries. We hope that our 2020 Report here is helpful to you, and we would be happy to discuss any of these updates in greater detail with you.
12 Jan 2021 | Singapore
New Advisory from Government on Procedure, Documents and Steps to Enter and Leave Lao PDR

On 16 December 2020, the National Task Force Committee of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for Prevention and Control of COVID-19 issued an Advisory on the procedure, documents and steps required to enter and leave Lao PDR ("Procedural Advisory"). The Procedural Advisory follows the Decision of the Prime Minister No. 09/PM dated 3 February 2020 and the Notice of the Prime Minister’s Office No.1291/PMO dated 26 November 2020 which are referred to in the Procedural Advisory. The Procedural Advisory replaces the Instruction No.1861/MOFA dated 31 July 2020. This Update highlights the key documents and procedures set out in the Procedural Advisory.

11 Jan 2021 | Lao PDR