Labour and employment in Malaysia

Lee Hishammuddin Allen & Gledhill

The 'very professional and efficient' employment and industrial relations team at Lee Hishammuddin Allen & Gledhill provides 'sound technical legal advice' on a range of compliance, contractual, contentious matters. Its impressive client roster includes major Malaysian companies and multinationals, such as CIMB Bank and Samsung Electronics. Practice head and 'good strategist' Heng Seng Lim is highlighted particularly for corporate advisory work while Thavalingam Thavarajah focuses on employment disputes. Other names to note include Shariffullah Abdul Majeed who has particular industrial relations experience and senior associate Amardeep Singh attracts praise for being 'a good communicator'.

Practice head(s):

Heng Seng Lim; Thavalingam Thavarajah

Testimonials

Working with them is almost like working with an in-house legal team that is there exclusively for you.

They are very responsive and able to provide sound advice and various scenarios.

The team is knowledgeable and responsive to client needs and demands, with an in-depth understanding of the legal process and its idiosyncrasies.

Lim Heng Seng has sound technical legal knowledge and recommends practical solutions with minimized legal risk are the qualities that distinguishes him from the rest.

Amardeep Singh ensures clients are kept up to date and presents in a clear lay man’s way without overt legal jargon.

Lim Heng Seng’s knowledge of the inner workings of the courts on this area is valuable.

Amardeep Singh is a good communicator, ensures clients are kept up to date. Able to present in a clear lay man’s way without overt legal jargon.

Lim Heng Seng is a veteran in the area of labour law for Malaysia. His knowledge of the inner workings of the courts on this area is valuable and his experience over the many years of his career is important.

Key clients

Nestle Products Sdn Bhd & Nestle Manufacturing

Ciba Vision Johor Sdn Bhd & Novartis Corporation

BASF (Malaysia) Sdn Bhd

AIG Malaysia Insurance Berhad

Malayan Banking Berhad

CIMB Bank Berhad

Samsung Electronics (M) Sdn Bhd

Otis Elevator Company

Unilever (Malaysia) Holdings

DHL Asia Pacific Shared Services

DHL Global Forwarding

DHL Supply Chain (Malaysia) Sdn Bhd

Malaysia Airlines Berhad

AirAsia Berhad

Measat Broadcast Network Systems Sdn Bhd

Work highlights

  • Representing South East Asian Central Banks (SEACEN) Research and Training Centre in appeals filed by three of the client’s former employees relating to their alleged dismissal by the client without just cause or excuse.
  • Acting for DHL Asia Pacific Shared Services SDN BHD in the Court of Appeal on the appeal of the High Court’s decision to dismiss the client’s application for judicial review to quash the decision of the Minister of Human Resources to refer the former employee’s representation that he was dismissed without just cause or excuse to the Industrial Court.
  • Representing Orange Business Services Malaysia Sdn Bhd, a subsidiary of Orange SA, at the Industrial Court in a claim brought by their former manager for unjust dismissal.

Shearn Delamore & Co

Shearn Delamore & Co's employment and administrative law practice advises on a full range of contentious and non-contentious employment and industrial relations matters. The group's experience includes assisting employers with a corporate transactions and restructuring, employment contracts, collective bargaining and collective agreements , union issues and disputes. Practice head Sivabalah Nadarajah handles a range of matters including judicial review applications and appeals; Reena Enbasegaram advises on disciplinary action procedures, employment issues in restructuring exercises and employment documentation, while Raymond Low is a name to note for employment litigation.

Practice head(s):

Sivabalah Nadarajah

Other key lawyers:

Reena Enbasegaram; Raymond Low

Skrine

The employment team at Skrine is frequently instructed by employers in a full-range of employment and labour matters, with particular experience in handling litigation. Selvamalar Alagaratnam, who handles a range of contentious and non-contentious employment matters including allegations of employee fraud and medical negligence, jointly heads the practice alongside Siva Kumar Kanagasabai who has particular experience in employment disputes.

Practice head(s):

Kumar Kanagasabai; Selvamalar Alagaratnam

Testimonials

A dedicated team that specializes in labour and employment practice.

The individuals we have worked with are friendly and easy to deal with, particularly associate Foo Siew Li.

Knowledgeable in employment law and is able to forthwith provide sound and practical legal advice.

Associate Foo Siew Li is friendly and easy to deal with.

Key clients

Hess Exploration and Production Malaysia B.V.

Ayamas Food Corporation Sdn Bhd

Design Worldwide Partnership | dwp Group

Hershey Malaysia Sdn Bhd

Lhoist Group

Huhtamaki Foodservices Malaysia Sdn Bhd

Pathology Asia Holdings Pte. Ltd.

Rockwool Malaysia Sdn Bhd

DNV GL

Kumpulan Hartanah Selangor Berhad

Sapura Aero Sdn Bhd

Top Glove Corporation Berhad                                               

Work highlights

  • Defending Hess Exploration and Production Malaysia B.V. in a claim by a a former contractor, who was immigration raid, that the company was the contractor’s de facto employer and had breached its contract of employment in failing to protect him from breaching Malaysian immigration laws.
  • Defended Ayamas Food Corporation in an unjust dismissal claim brought by the former vice president of the company in the Industrial Court.
  • Acted for DNV GL in a claim of constructive dismissal in the Industrial Court brought by its former country manager who was the most senior management personnel in Malaysia.

Wong & Partners

Wong & Partners' employment practice 'provides timely and comprehensive advice' on corporate transactions, compliance matters and disputes to its client roster of multinational clients. Brian Chia heads up the practice and is a key name to note for non-contentious matters, while Eddie Chuah handles disputes.

Practice head(s):

Brian Chia

Other key lawyers:

Eddie Chuah

Testimonials

Friendly, knowledgeable and committed associate Shameen Mohd Haaziq Pillay’s quick, informative and reassuring responses to our various modes of queries has given us the confidence that we need in during the legal proceedings.

Key clients

Estee Lauder Malaysia Sdn Bhd

ISS Facility Services Private Limited

Magneti Marelli S.p.A.

Global Blue Service Company Singapore

Nestle (Malaysia) Berhad

Terex Singapore Pte Ltd

Mitsubishi Corporation (Japan)

Cardinal Health

Nintex

Work highlights

  • Advised Nestle (Malaysia) Berhad on employment aspects of its proposed RM155.3m disposal of its chilled dairy and manufacturing business to Lactalis Trading Malaysia Sdn Bhd and Lactalis Manufacturing Malaysia Sdn Bhd.
  • Advised a multinational events and exhibitions service provider in connection with the termination of a senior employee following allegations of abuse of power and conflict of interest.
  • Advising a multinational FMCG client on employment matters in connection with the disposal of its manufacturing plant in Malaysia.

Zul Rafique & Partners

The 'dynamic' employment and industrial relations practice at Zul Rafique & Partners handles a range of contentious and non-contentious matters and attracts praise for being 'thorough when rendering an opinion and provides sound legal advice'. The group is jointly led by industrial court litigator P Jayasingam, Wong Keat Ching, who splits her time between contentious and corporate advisory work, and Thavaselvi Pararajasingam, who counts banks and insurers among her clients.

Practice head(s):

P Jayasingam; Wong Keat Ching; Thavaselvi Pararajasingam

Testimonials

Thavaselvi Pararajasingam is a brilliant lawyer with formidable presence.

Key clients

Petroliam Nasional Berhad (Petronas)

Tenaga Nasional Berhad

Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra

Genting Plantations Berhad

Public Bank Berhad

PricewaterhouseCoopers

KLCC Property Holdings Sdn Bhd

Sime Darby Berhad

Sime Darby Property Berhad

Sime Darby Plantation Berhad

Sime Darby Industrial Sdn Bhd

CIMB Bank Berhad

RHB Bank Berhad

Maxis Broadband Sdn Bhd

Measat Satellite Systems Sdn Bhd

Sarawak Energy Berhad

Telekom Malaysia Berhad

International Islamic University Malaysia

Work highlights

  • Represented Sime Darby Global Services Centre in a judicial review application brought by a former employee of the company relating to their dismissal on the grounds of poor performance.
  • Advised Royal Group Capital Pte. Ltd and NMM Pte. Ltd & Power Rich Investment Pte Ltd on employment issues relating to the sale of the Hilton Garden Inn hotels in Kuala Lumpur.
  • Acted for Tenaga Nasional in an unfair dismissal claim brought by an ex-employee who was a meter reader examiner who dismissed due to misconduct involving his failure to report irregularity in the electricity meter in his own house.
  • Defended CIMB Bank in a constructive dismissal claim by an employee.

Christopher & Lee Ong

Christopher & Lee Ong's multi-disciplinary employment practice group includes corporate and disputes resolution lawyers. The group is frequently instructed to advise on Malaysian labour law aspects and acquisitions and divestments, and has the capabilities to handle a range of contentious matters in the industrial courts as well as in arbitration and mediation. Key names to note include corporate and real estate partner Kelvin Kho and Yau Yee Ming for non-contentious matters and litigators Rubini Murugesan and Han Li Meng.

Practice head(s):

Rubini Murugesan; Kelvin Kho; Han Li Meng; Yau Yee Ming

Key clients

Classpass Inc.

Procter & Gamble Europe SA

MFEX Mutual Funds Exchange AB

Central Marketing Group

Vale Malaysia Minerals Sdn. Bhd.

Ichikoh (Malaysia) Sdn Bhd

Work highlights

  • Advised Procter & Gamble Europe on the proposed integration of its business and workforce in Malaysia following its global acquisition of the Merck consumer health unit.
  • Advised MFEX Sweden on Malaysian labour matters following its acquisition of RBC Investor & Treasury Services which included the transfer of RBC employees in Malaysia to a newly set-up MFEX entity.
  • Assisted Classpass Inc with Malaysian employment aspects of its aquisition of Singapore-based competitor, GuavaPass.

Rahmat Lim & Partners

Rahmat Lim & Partners leverages its strong litigation and dispute resolution practice in employment and labour matters. Practice head Jack Yow advises on a range of contentious issues and frequently defends large corporates in claims by employees and former employees.

Practice head(s):

Jack Yow

Work highlights

  • Successfully defended Kontron Design Manufacturing Services in an unfair dismissal claim filed by the previous financial controller of Kontron.
  • Represented Flextronics Shah Alam in a case where a former employee claimed he was forced to resign from his employment by his superior when the employee’s probationary period was extended for a further three months and placed under a performance improvement plan.
  • Represented Ranbaxy Malaysia in an unfair dismissal claim brought by its former employee as a result of his retrenchment.  
  • Advised Tasek Corporation in a constructive dismissal claim brought by one of its employees who walked out from the company following a demotion.
  • Acted for CB Global Corporate Services in an unfair dismissal claim brought by its former employee who alleged that he was unfairly dismissed on the ground of redundancy.

Raja, Darryl & Loh

The employment team at Raja, Darryl & Loh handles a range of advisory and contentious matters with particular experience in defending unfair dismissal, retrenchment and constructive dismissal cases at the Industrial Court. Practice head Ravindra Kumar Rengasamy advises clients on redundancy and retrenchment, contractual matters as well in litigation.

Practice head(s):

Ravindra Kumar Rengasamy

Key clients

Perbadanan Perwira Harta Malaysia

Columbia Asia Sdn Bhd

Rohde & Schwarz (M) Sdn Bhd

Finance Accreditation Agency

Ipsos Sdn Bhd

Bentley Systems (M) Sdn Bhd

Royal Bank of Canada Group

Petrofac Group

Western Union Group

ADT Services/Tyco Fire Security & Services Group

Baker Hughes Group

Volvo Cars Group

Work highlights

  • Represented Baker Hughes (M) in an unfair dismissal claim brought by a former internationally mobile employee employed by of Dubai-based company International Professional Resources and assigned to Baker Hughes as operations manager.
  • Defended Volvo Car Manufacturing Malaysia Sdn Bhd in a claim for breach of recruitment and supply agreement.
  • Defended Columbia Asia Sdn Bhd in a claim for unfair dismissal brought by an independent contractor, who was engaged as an Anaesthetist at one of the Company’s operating medical centres, following her contract not being renewed after a fixed term.
  • Defended Foodteller Sdn Bhd in a unfair dismissal claim brought by a former shareholder, director and chief executive officer of the company.
  • Advised UiTM Holdings Sdn Bhd on retrenchment exercise.

Azmi & Associates

The employment and industrial relations team at Azmi & Associates is instructed to advise on labour law aspects of corporate transactions and commercial and contractual matters as well representing clients in negotiations of collective agreements and employer/employee disputes. Melinda Marie D’Angelus has experience in advising trade unions and employers in contentious and non-contentious matters.

Practice head(s):

Melinda Marie D’Angelus

Chooi & Company and Cheang & Ariff

Highlighted as 'a truly a great team with charismatic individuals', Chooi & Company and Cheang & Ariff's employment and immigration practice group assists its impressive client roster — which includes Mondelez Malaysia, Agoda International and IHI Corporation — with a range of contentious and advisory matters. The 'remarkable' Yap Yeong Hui handles a range of matters with particular experience in representing clients in unfair dismissal claims at the Industrial Court and heads up the practice alongside corporate partner Brian ML Foong.

Practice head(s):

Yap Yeong Hui; Brian ML Foong

Testimonials

They are able to ‘see’ bigger issues which are not apparent from the scant information given to them (due to confidentiality reasons).

This practice is unique because the very first contact made was treated with TLC (tender, love and care).’

Yap Yeong Hui always accommodates our tight timelines and our request for free written advise.

Yap Yeong Hui is very responsive and knowledgeable.

Yap Yeong Hui was outstanding. He is a people person first and then a lawyer.

They also had an exceptionally professional and efficient reception making me feel welcome during calls and visits to the office.

Key clients

Cadbury Confectionery Sales (M) Sdn Bhd

IHI Corporation

Secure Parking Corporation Sdn Bhd

Genting Berhad

Agoda International Malaysia Sdn Bhd

Zhejiang Elegant Prosper (Malaysia) Sdn. Bhd.

OrangeBeam Berhad (previously known as Putra Perdana Construction Sdn. Bhd.)

IKO Industries Ltd

Mondelez Malaysia Sdn Bhd

PJD Hotels Sdn Bhd (a subsidiary of OSK Holdings Berhad)

Fieldcore Services Solutions Sdn Bhd

Work highlights

  • Defended Orange Beam Berhad in an unjust dismissal claim brought by a former employee that was terminated at the end of his probation period by the client for his poor work performance.
  • Represented Cadbury Confectionery Sales in an unfair dismissal claim brought by a former employee who was dismissed for suspected theft.
  • Assisted IHI Corporation with preparation of terms and conditions of employment for their employees.
  • Advised IKO Industries on a retrenchment exercise.
  • Assisted Zhejiang Elegant Prosper with drafting a template employment agreement for its entity established in Malaysia.

Donovan & Ho

Donovan & Ho's 'exceptional' employment and industrial relations team acts for both employers and employees on a range of contentious and non-contentious matters. As well as advising on employment contracts and disputes relating to termination of employment, the group has recently been instructed to assist with internal investigations involving employee misconduct such as sexual harassment, fraud and breach of fiduciary duties. Practice head Donovan Cheah, who attracts praise for his 'professional, thoroughness and efficiency', counts L’Oreal and PPG Industries among his clients.

Practice head(s):

Donovan Cheah

Testimonials

We’ve been their client for less than 1 year now and we are very pleased with their service and professionalism.

They understand the nature of their client and tailor their services to suit with the needs, especially my company which have limited resources in Malaysia.

Donovan & Ho is full of experienced and energetic lawyers.

Donovan Cheah has deep knowledge and understanding of the local regulations and law, and understand the nature of businesses very well.

Donovan Cheah is very responsive and thorough in his response and is extremely helpful and thorough in providing guidance and legal advice.’

Donovan’s professional, thoroughness and efficiency stood out for us. Every time we’ve had queries he was very responsive and thorough in his response.

Key clients

Omniraise

Ambition

L’Oreal

Givaudan Group

PPG Industries

DahMakan

Momentive Performance Materials

Work highlights

  • Defended PPG Performance Coatings in a constructive dismissal claim brought by a former employee who claimed that they was demoted.
  • Successfully represented an employee in a claim involving pregnancy discrimination.
  • Assisted a client with internal investigations involving allegations of sexual harassment.
  • Successfully defended our client in resisting enforcement of a non-compete restrictive covenant.
  • Representing a client in an unfair dismissal claim for wrongful retrenchment.

Shook Lin & Bok

The labour and industrial team at Shook Lin & Bok, which handles both advisory work and litigation, is led by Romesh Abraham and includes Mehala Marimuthoo, who are both particularly experienced in employment disputes. David Ng Yew Kiat joined Steven Thiru & Sudhar Partnership.

Practice head(s):

Romesh Abraham

Other key lawyers:

Mehala Marimuthoo

Tay & Partners

Tay & Partners assists employers ⁠– including  multinationals, local and international banks and financial institutions, government agencies and local companies ⁠– with employment and industrial relations matters, with particular experience in contentious instructions. Dispute resolution partner Leonard Yeoh has experience representing employers in litigation. Lim May Fenn left to establish JW Yeoh & Fenn.

Other key lawyers:

Leonard Yeoh

Work highlights

  • Represented OCK Group Berhad in a breach of employment contract claim brought by its former CEO.
  • Advising Radius Fuel Cards in a claim against a former employee on the grounds of breach of employee duties, breach of trust and  confidence, dishonest misappropriation and theft of company funds.

Zaid Ibrahim & Co (a member of ZICO Law)

Zaid Ibrahim & Co (a member of ZICO Law) is instructed by corporate clients to assist with a range of advisory employment matters and in disputes. Practice head Yong Hon Cheong advises on employment aspects of corporate transactions, as well as acting for employers in Industrial Court cases, while senior associate Sivagami Sivalingam focuses on contentious matters.

Practice head(s):

Yong Hon Cheong

Other key lawyers:

Sivagami Sivalingam

Gan Partnership

Gan Partnership  is highlighted for employment disputes, with particular experience acting for both claimants and employers in unfair dismissal claims. Gan Khong Aik, who has experience across a range of litigation and alternative dispute resolution, heads up the practice.

Practice head(s):

Gan Khong Aik

Key clients

United Overseas Bank (Malaysia) Berhad

MTD Group of Companies

Philip Morris Sdn. Bhd

ExxonMobil Exploration & Production Inc.

Schlumberger Limited and its subsidiaries

Overseas Courier Sdn. Bhd.

Overseas Courier Service (S) Pte Ltd

New Image International

Brazil Embassy

UKM Holdings Sdn Bhd

Celcom Axiata Bhd

Sunsuria Group

ExxonMobil Business Support Centre Malaysia Sdn Bhd

Federal Power Sdn Bhd

Work highlights

  • Represented Ukm Holdings  in a claim for dismissal without just cause and excuse brought by the company’s former CEO.
  • Defended Celcom Mobile in a termination without just cause claim brought by a former employee whose fixed term contract was not renewed.
  • Acted for a former employee of Avago Technologies in an unlawful dismissal claim.
  • Defended United Overseas Bank against a former employee’s claim that he had been dismissed by the bank without just cause and excuse.

Josephine, L K Chow & Co

The employment team at Josephine, L K Chow & Co is strong for industrial relations and employment litigation, with particular experience advising manufacturing sector clients. Edward Saw Keat Leong heads up the practice and frequently appears in the Industrial Court in unfair dismissal claims.

Practice head(s):

Edward Saw Keat Leong

Key clients

Hoepharma Holdings Sdn Bhd

Royal Selangor Marketing Sdn Bhd

Comyns (M) Sdn Bhd

Royal Selangor International Sdn Bhd

Work highlights

  • Defended Hoepharma Holdings in a constructive dismissal claim brought by ex-employee under Section 20 of the Industrial Relation Act 1967.
  • Defended Royal Selangor Marketing and Royal Selangor Internationa in a claim of non-compliance under Section 56 of Industrial Relation Act 1967 brought by the the union, Kesatuan Pekerja-Pekerja Pewter Dan Kraftangan Semenanjung Malaysia.
  • Represented Royal Selangor Marketing  in an appeal against the High Court Decision that dismissed the Company’s judicial review application against the decision of Ministry of Human Resources that the newly introduced position of Assistant Supervisor in the company does not fall within the managerial capacity or executive capacity or confidential capacity or security capacity in S.9(1)(b) of Industrial Relation Act, after receiving a complaint by Kesatuan Pekerja-Pekerja Pewter Dan Kraftangan Semenanjung Malaysia.

MahWengKwai & Associates

The labour and employment practice group at MahWengKwai & Associates assists its client roster, which ranges from large corporations and businesses to individual employees, with a range of employment matters. Raymond Mah heads up the practice and is strong for contentious employment issues.

Practice head(s):

Raymond Mah

Key clients

Rajaram a/l Ramasamy

Timberion Sdn Bhd

Paktor Pte Ltd, Singapore

Paktor MY Sdn Bhd

Wiko Mobile Malaysia Sdn Bhd

Work highlights

  • Represented an individual in an unfair dismissal claim against his former employer at the Industrial Court.
  • Defended Timberion in an unfair dismissal claim filed by a former employee of the company at the Industrial Court.
  • Representing Paktor Pte Ltd, Singapore and Paktor MY in a suit against former employees and a business competitor company for loss and damages caused to the Clients in excess of RM7m.
  • Represented Wiko Mobile Malaysia Sdn Bhd in a claim for unfair dismissal brought by a former employee.
  • Advising an individual unfair dismissal claim against his former employer at the Industrial Court.

Peter Ling & van Geyzel

Peter Ling & van Geyzel's employment practice offers 'quick responses and practical advice at reasonable fees' and advises corporates and well-known brands to advise on labour and employment compliance matters. The group benefits from referrals of work from major international law firms such as DLA Piper, Eversheds Sutherland, and Bird & Bird LLP. Practice head Marcus van Geyzel has experience in corporate, commercial and contentious work.

Practice head(s):

Marcus Van Geyzel

Testimonials

They provide quick response and practical advice at reasonable fees.

Peter Ling & Marcus van Geyzel offers very speedy responses and pragmatic advice.

Marcus van Geyzel is very knowledgeable and gives practical advice. His responses are short and succinct.

Marcus van Geyzel is always responsive and a pleasure to work with.

They provide very speedy responses and pragmatic advice.

Key clients

DLA Piper

Eversheds Sutherland

Bird & Bird

Seyfarth Shaw

Stephenson Harwood

Work highlights

  • Advised FedEx on numerous employment-related matters throughout the year, including misconduct complaints and investigations, dismissals, and other advisory matters.
  • Advised Expedia on employment-related matters pursuant to the USD60m buyout of the AirAsiaGo JV platform from AirAsia.
  • Advised Nike on numerous employment-related matters throughout the year, including misconduct complaints and investigations, dismissals, and other advisory matters.
  • Advised a multinational media organisation in investigating and conducting a domestic hearing into a sexual harassment complaint involving a senior member of the organisation.
  • Advised an international organisation on negotiating and documenting the mutual separation agreements for 3 senior executives.

Zain & Co

With a particular strength for dispute resolution, Zain & Co is instructed in a range of contentious employment matters. It also assists clients with drafting contracts and advising on retrenchment exercises. Sharmini Durai heads the employment and labour practice group and has particular experience defending against unfair dismissal claims and handling judicial review applications to the High Court and appeals to the Court of Appeal.

Practice head(s):

Sharmini Durai

Key clients

MIMOS Berhad

National Heart Institute

Projek Lintasan Kota Holdings Sdn Bhd and its subsidiaries

Hitachi Data Systems Sdn Bhd

Malaysian Institute of Certified Public Accountants

ON Semiconductor Pte Ltd

Hitachi Consulting Services Malaysia Sdn Bhd

Hitachi Consulting Malaysia Sdn Bhd

Work highlights

  • Acted for Hitachi Vantara in a claim by a former employee in the Industrial Court for unfair dismissal.
  • Represented a General Manager of the company in a suit filed against him in his personal capacity by a former employee.