On 14 March 2013, th e Ministry of Manpower ( MOM ) announced the proposed changes to the
Employment Act ( EA ) following the
conclusion of its first phase of review of the EA ( Phase 1 Review ). The Phase 1 Review encompassed the extension of
the EA, improvement of employment standards and benefits for employees, and
reduction of rigidity and augmentation of flexibility for employers. (For
further information on the Phase 1 Review, please refer to our December 2012
issue available here ).
In our July 2012 issue, we explored the impact of the case of Sembcorp Marine Ltd v PPL Holdings Pte Ltd
 3 SLR 801 on the implication of contractual terms into an agreement.
There, the High Court had affirmed the traditional tests to determine whether
terms should be implied into a contract - the ‘officious bystander' and the ‘business
efficacy' test. The High Court also adopted the test advanced by the
Judicial Committee of the Privy Council in Attorney
General of Belize v Belize Telecom & another  1 WLR 1998 ( Belize ), which requires the court to
consider whether implying such a term into a contract " would spell out in express words what the instrument, read against the
relevant background, would reasonably be understood to mean ".
The Singapore Exchange ( SGX ) has announced new listing rules
aimed at promoting greater transparency in general meetings and supporting
listed companies and trusts in enhancing their levels of shareholder
Recently, the Singapore
government announced a slew of construction and infrastructure projects planned
as part of its long term infrastructure programme. Notably in the pipeline are
the development of Changi Airport Terminals 4 and 5 and the much talked about
"Project Jewel" at Terminal 1, the relocation of the existing southern port to
Tuas and the development of the "Southern Waterfront City" along Tanjong Pagar.
These are on top of the perennial projects involving the creation and
reinvention of residential space in the island state.
Most sellers and buyers of property are
familiar with the requirement for the parties to sign some document before an
agreement for the sale may be concluded. This is sometimes in the form of a
sale and purchase agreement signed by both parties together with payment of a
deposit by the buyer. In other cases, it is sometimes done through an option to
purchase signed by the seller and given to the buyer in exchange for a cheque
as consideration for the option. The agreement for the sale is subsequently
concluded when the buyer exercises the option by signing its acceptance form
and paying the balance of the deposit within the stipulated time.
In the May 2013 edition of our Chronicle, we highlighted some of the
features of Myanmar's new Foreign Investment Law and its implementing
regulations (the new FIL ). Under
the new FIL, a foreign investor may carry out business activities in
through either a wholly foreign-owned
in certain restricted areas), a joint venture enterprise with a Myanmar
citizen, or pursuant to a contract. Although not all activities require
local participation, in practice
many new foreign investors choose to include local partners in their
as such partners bring crucial market knowledge on how to
navigate Myanmar's economic and bureaucratic environment.
In Law Society of Singapore v Kurubalan s/o Manickam Rengaraju 
SGHC 135 ( Kurubalan ), the Judges of
the Singapore Supreme Court have demonstrated their sensitivity to the need for
access to justice by creating an exception to the age-old rule against
champerty. The prohibition against champerty states that it is unlawful to
support litigation in exchange for a share of the proceeds of the action. The
Court in Kurubalan stressed that
while the prohibition against champerty remains good law in Singapore, "it
would be permissible and even honourable for an Advocate and Solicitor to act
for an impecunious client in the
knowledge that he would likely only be able to recover his appropriate fees or
disbursements if the client were successful in the claim and could pay him out
of those proceeds or if there was a costs order obtained against the other
side" (emphasis in original in italics). This clarification is to be lauded.
British pharmaceutical giant
GlaxoSmithKline ( GSK ) is currently
the subject of a major investigation by Chinese authorities for allegedly
paying RMB3 billion (nearly US$500 million) in bribes to doctors and government
officials to boost sales and raise the price of its drugs. It has been reported
that 4 detained GSK executives have since confessed to violating Chinese anti-bribery
and tax laws. If substantiated, GSK would join other multinational companies
such as Carrefour, Siemens, Morgan Stanley and IBM which have in the past been
implicated for corruption and bribery in the PRC.