Wednesday, 21 February 2018

Singapore Budget 2018: Everything you need to know

Last Monday afternoon, the 2018 Singapore Budget was rolled out. I'm sure some of the announcements caught some of you by surprise, some good, some maybe not so good. 

Here's some of the areas that stood out for us here at Wolters Kluwer:

  • The GST increase is happening, just not as quickly as we thought, with an increase of 2% expected to be implemented between 2021 and 2025, giving time for all to prepare.
  • GST will be implemented on imported digital services from 2020, affecting B2B (via a reverse charge mechanism) and B2C (through an overseas vendor registration model) businesses. 
  • After alluding to the carbon tax in the 2017 Budget, it has now been introduced for 2019 onwards, at a rate of $5 per 25,000 tonnes or more of emissions, encouraging companies to be more energy efficient.

Monday, 29 January 2018

Managing Bitcoin Mania in Malaysia

Refer to Veerinder on Malaysian Tax Theory And Practice (4th Edition) for more in-depth information and insights on Malaysia taxation issues.

The Inland Revenue Board (IRB) has recently froze the bank account of Luno, a London-based cryptocurrency exchange and is seeking information on all its Malaysian users, including their identities and complete details of their transactions. It is reasonable to deduce that IRB is concerned about money-laundering and tax evasion.

What is interesting is the lack of mention in the news of the other relevant authorities – Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) and Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC). As you may recall, in early 2017, BNM, IRB and MACC have agreed to collaborate to combat financial crimes, corruption and tax evasion. Are the BNM and MACC actively participating in this investigation?


Wednesday, 24 January 2018

Background Checks on Employees

Authors: Donovan Cheah (Partner) and Adryenne Lim (Legal Executive) (Donovan & Ho)

Tales of errant employees are not unheard of. We are dealing with people after all; it is a fact of life to be faced with a diversity of characters and personalities, both good and bad. In ordinary interactions, individuals can just walk away and avoid dealing with difficult personalities. However, the remedy of “walking away” has no application in the employment arena: employment relationships are bound by contract, and in order to terminate the relationship, the burden is on the employer to justify that it is for just and reasonable cause, which, if challenged by the employee, may involve claims of unfair dismissal which are often costly to defend.

Thus, before an employee is hired, employers should undertake appropriate vetting procedures to ensure that the employee is both suitable for the job and do not have personality issues which may bring future complications to the employer, such as the following:

Monday, 22 January 2018

Is employee email monitoring legal in China?

Author: Erex Chen, a partner from Mylink law, provides daily legal service for foreign-invested companies and oversea companies, as well as large and media-sized Chinese companies, including investment and trading projects in China by foreign-invested companies and oversea companies.


We are frequently asked by the clients that if the company has the right to monitor the employee’s corporate email account, and will it be legal in China? 

The monitoring of employee’s behavior during the working time by the employer, including the monitoring of corporate email account, QQ, MSN, etc, has become a controversial topic worldwide, which relates to the balance of the interest between the employer’s right of supervision over the employees and the personal privacy the employee enjoys.

Thursday, 21 December 2017

Bitcoin and GST in Malaysia – Cryptic Times Ahead?

Dave Ananth is a senior lawyer, a former Magistrate and advocate in Malaysia before taking up a position with the Inland Revenue Department in New Zealand as a Prosecutor. He now practises as a Tax Barrister, based in Auckland. He is an expert on Malaysian GST and a familiar speaker on the local Malaysian circuit. He also writes extensively on GST in Malaysia and other taxation issues in New Zealand.  He is a consultant for Wolters Kluwer on Malaysian GST. He can be reached at davetaxnz@gmail.com. 


Cryptocurrency, a form of digital currency is the new ‘digital money’ of the millennium. It is cash that you cannot see nor touch as it is not tangible. However, it is in the internet, mostly stored in a digital wallet and is being traded in many countries. Cryptocurrency is created by ‘miners’ using high powered computers using massive amounts of electricity.

If you have not heard about this digital currency, then you are lagging behind. It is the buzz word today with everyone jumping onto the bandwagon, and some not knowing what they are getting into.

Punters predict it will change the financial landscape completely, sceptics, on the other hand, believe it would not last, akin to the Dutch Tulip Mania in the 16th century. Tulip mania was the first recorded financial bubble. Tulips became fashionable and there was a mad rush to purchase tulips – causing their prices to increase to monumental levels which after a period, dramatically collapsed. Many are cautious – with one of them being Richard Harris, who wrote a damning article equating bitcoins to speculative derivatives and why it could trigger the next global financial crash.

Some countries have banned this form of currency while others have gone ahead to recognise it, amending the law and regulations to suit. 

My intention in this article is not to advise potential investors. I do not have a crystal ball for that. Instead, this article discuss GST options for the Government to consider in giving life to Bitcoin, which is the best-known cryptocurrency. 

Tuesday, 19 December 2017

The Law on Bonus Payments

Author: Donovan Cheah (Partner) with assistance from Natalie Ng (Intern) (Donovan & Ho)

As the year comes to an end, many companies are starting to offer bonuses to reward employees for achieving specific goals, or for overall good performance. However, bonuses are normally described as “discretionary”, which is understood to mean that the employer has a right to determine whether or not to grant a bonus that particular year, or how much bonus should be given.



The recent case of All Malayan Estates Staff Union v Revertex (Malaysia) Sdn Bhd gives an interesting perspective as to how a Company should exercise its discretion in granting bonus.