Firms To Watch: Real estate and construction

M&A and corporate real estate boutique firm Hsian & Co. was established by former Wong & Partners‘ real estate practice head Yong Hsian Siong in April 2021. Hsian advises on all aspects of a transaction, including advice on incorporation, structuring and regulatory matters related to the investment.

Real estate and construction in Malaysia

Lee Hishammuddin Allen & Gledhill

Lee Hishammuddin Allen & Gledhill’s real estate and construction practice is well-regarded in the market across the full range of transactional and disputes work, assisting an extensive roster of developers, contractors, financiers and institutional investors. The practice has a strong track record in real estate projects across the housing, retail, hospitality and heavy industry sectors, and an excellent offering in real estate finance for banks, and investment and capital management companies. Tay Weng Hwee focuses on real estate transactions, joint ventures and development matters, as well as property finance matters and the sale of real estate assets. Bella Chu Chai Yee is noted for her complex and high-value transactional work. Nitin Nadkarni heads the firm’s international arbitration practice, specialising in construction, engineering and infrastructure cases across Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia and North Africa.

Practice head(s):

Tay Weng Hwee

Testimonials

What makes the practice unique/excellent are its strengths and key capabilities: (a) It has good lawyers in various fields such as specialists in adjudication including under the Malaysian Construction Industry Payment and Adjudication Act, (b) It is a sizeable company and is able to take on big jobs; (c) They are very knowledgeable and able to think outside of the box and provide sound strategies and advice; (d) They are client-focused and negotiable.’

‘LHAG is the most professional legal firm I have worked with. The partners are well aligned and complement each other by sharing their expertise.’

Key clients

Symphony Hills Sdn Bhd

Tiong Thye Properties Sdn Bhd

Pelaburan Hartanah Berhad

Sunway REIT Management Berhad

The Society for the International School of Kuala Lumpur

Fastrack Management Pte Ltd

Welloyd Properties Sdn Bhd

KL South Development

Ernst & Young Malaysia

Malaysia Pacific Corporation Berhad

Mapletree Investments Pte Ltd

DHL

KPMG

BDO

PWC

UEM Sunrise Berhad

LOGOS Property Pty Ltd /Area Ventures Sdn Bhd

Lotte E&C Malaysia Sdn Bhd

Iswarabena Sdn Bhd

MTD ACPI Engineering Berhad

Siemens Malaysia Sdn Bhd

Mewah Group / Mewah-Oils Sdn Bhd / Mewaholeo Sdn Bhd

Kumpulan FIMA Berhad / Percetakan

Keselamatan Nasional Sdn Bhd

CCCC Sixth Engineering (Malaysia) Sdn Bhd

China City Construction Sixth Construction

Bureau Group Company Limited

Cypark Resources Berhad / Cypark Sdn Bhd

Sime Darby Ara Damansara Development Sdn Bhd

MCC Overseas (M) Sdn. Bhd

Motorola Solutions Malaysia Sdn Bhd

Matrix Concepts (Central) Sdn Bhd / BSS Development Sdn Bhd

DKLS Construction Sdn Bhd

Work highlights

  • Acted for UEM Sunrise Berhad on its disposal of five parcels of leasehold agricultural land to DBE Development Sdn Bhd, and its proposed merger with Eco World Development Group Berhad.
  • Advised Hai Di Lao Malaysia Sdn. Bhd in tenancy agreements for rental of various commercial lots in various locations in Malaysia.
  • Represents CCCC Sixth Engineering (Malaysia) Sdn Bhd / China City Construction Sixth Construction Bureau Group Company Limited on a commercial dispute pertaining to the unpaid fees in relation to a mixed development project.

Rahmat Lim & Partners

Rahmat Lim & Partners advises clients across a full range of corporate real estate matters, including acquisitions, developments and joint ventures, leasing and associated due diligence. The practice has a strong track record of handling structured property transactions, involving office buildings, malls and retail properties, hotels, residential and mixed developments and industrial properties. Lee Yee Ling heads the corporate real estate department; her practice is geared towards acquisitions and divestments, sale-and-leaseback transactions, joint developments and development projects. Chong Yee Leong manages the firm’s projects and international arbitration group, bolstering the firm’s ability to draw on construction and engineering expertise. Kamilah Kasim is another key name here, with considerable experience in complex engineering projects.

Practice head(s):

Lee Yee Ling; Chong Yee Leong

Other key lawyers:

Allen Choong; Amelia Koo; Kamilah Kasim

Testimonials

‘Client-oriented and responsive. Offer practical advice on legal issues with a commercial focus.’

‘Lee Yee Ling provides sound, practical advice on legal issues.’

Work highlights

  • Advised Cycle & Carriage Bintang Berhad on the acquisition of three parcels of lands located in Penang, Malaysia measuring approximately 35,420.84 square feet from The Malayan Press (PG) Sdn. Bhd. for the total purchase price of MYR24, 205,460.00.
  • Advised Malaysian Rail Link Berhad on the contract administration of the EPC Contract for the ECRL Project, which is a 640km railway link connecting different parts of the East coast region with the West coast region in Malaysia.
  • Advised, reviewed and drafted the construction documents for MRT Services Sdn. Bhd in relation to the Rapid Transit System Link Project within Malaysia.

Shearn Delamore & Co

Shearn Delamore & Co‘s real estate practice group handles a full range of corporate real estate work, assisting domestic and international clients including property developers, public and private companies, local and offshore property funds, investors and financial institutions. Key areas of work include property acquisitions and divestments, sale-and-leaseback, property-related joint ventures, real estate M&A, and leasing and tenancies. The group also houses an engineering and construction team, which handles both contentious and non-contentious matters relating to complex building and development projects both domestically and outside of Malaysia. Sar Sau Yee heads the department jointly with Rodney Gomez , who has extensive experience in planning and development and as an arbitrator in construction and engineering disputes.

Practice head(s):

Sar Sau Yee; Rodney Gomez

Other key lawyers:

Alexius Lee 

Key clients

Eco World Development Group Berhad

S P Setia Berhad

Paramount Corporation Berhad.

Wong & Partners

Wong & Partners is recommended for its track record of complex transactions, as well as for corporate transactions with a real estate component and for its corporate leasing practice. Other core strengths include build-to-suit leasing, as well as a market-leading hospitality practice. Ai Leen Tang frequently advises local and multinational property developers, investors and REITs on sale and purchase transactions as well as tenancies and leases. Janice Tay is a key name for construction and engineering disputes; she is an experienced arbitrator, adjudicator and mediator. May Chua, who has significant expertise in real estate issues relating to cross-border M&A, was promoted to partner.

Practice head(s):

Ai Leen Tang; Janice Tay

Other key lawyers:

May Chua

Testimonials

‘The team work very strongly, efficiently, professionally, are knowledgeable and provide quick responses. They always give their utmost to satisfy the client and provide them with the best legal services. They are easy to communicate with and very transparent. They frequently discussed with us via Zoom/Team meetings during the pandemic which was very efficient.’

Key clients

Microsoft

Best Eternity Recycle Technology Sdn Bhd

Motif Budi Sdn. Bhd

Tropicana Corporation Berhad

Work highlights

  • Advised Snowflakes Realty Sdn. Bhd. and Elkwood Realty Sdn. Bhd., wholly-owned subsidiaries of TCB, on the acquisition of 308 acres of freehold lands in Bentong, Pahang for a collective amount of MYR402m, to expand its landbank in Pahang and to enhance its property development profile in Genting Highlands.
  • Advised Best Eternity Recycle Technology Sdn Bhd on a series of transactions for the acquisition of plots of industrial land for a collective amount of approximately MYR400m and measuring an aggregate of approximately 200 acres from various landowners.
  • Advised Motif Budi Sdn. Bhd. on the acquisition of 96,900 square feet of lands along Jalan Batai Kuala Lumpur for a collective amount of MYR 97m, whereupon a commercial centre known as “Plaza Batai” which comprises 16 units of two-storey terraced shop lots is erected upon.

MahWengKwai & Associates

MahWengKwai & Associates‘ real estate practice group stands out for its experience in property litigation, regularly representing clients in land acquisition, ownership and possession, property fraud and breach of contract disputes. Raymond Mah is the key name here. Christine Toh  concentrates on construction adjudication, arbitration and litigation. On the transactional side, Sarah Kambali focuses on real estate deals, with a strong suit in Shariah compliance and in conveyancing.

Key clients

Esstar Vision Sdn Bhd

Industrial Concrete Products Sdn Bhd

Bersatu Freight Agency Sdn Bhd

Triune Sdn Bhd

Ong Sooi Li & Ong Chu Yew

Mikail bin Muhammad Azman Busst

MD Yaakob bin MD Shariff

Lim Eng Bian & Chong Lee Lee

Azmil Mohd Said

Azimah binti Awang Teh

Binasat Sdn Bhd

Work highlights

  • Advised Bersatu Freight Agency Sdn Bhd on a Perfection of Transfer for its unit of double-storey shop-office, which has a value of RM2,708,000.00.
  • Represented Esstar Vision in a dispute relating to the damages suffered arising from the contractor’s unlawful termination.

Raja, Darryl & Loh

Raja, Darryl & Loh focuses on construction, engineering and infrastructure, with expertise across the life cycle of a project – the team handles work from the bid preparation process, to contract drafting and negotiation, to implementation and through to dispute resolution. Key areas of work include construction civil suits, arbitration and adjudication proceedings, as well as industrial accidents and health and safety issues. Choon Hon Leng is well-regarded for his expertise in negotiating and drafting procurement and construction contracts. He jointly heads the team with Chong Mei Mei, who manages a real estate portfolio including multiple hotel brands.

Practice head(s):

Choon Hon Leng; Chong Mei Mei

Other key lawyers:

Ooi Huey Miin

Key clients

Petron Malaysia Refining & Marketing Bhd

Petron Fuel International Sdn Bhd

Marriott International Group

Work highlights

  • Obtained a favourable decision against a developer in the Court of Appeal relating to the validity of a certificate of non-completion, how to deal with retention sums post-termination and the right of an assignor to terminate a contract.
  • Succeeded in the High Court in defending a decision of an arbitral tribunal to strike out an arbitration on the ground of non-compliance with a condition precedent to the commencement of arbitration.
  • Succeeded in defending, in the Court of Appeal, a High Court decision on questions of law arising from an arbitral award, and subsequently in procuring the dismissal of the application for leave to appeal to the Federal Court.

Skrine

Skrine‘s real estate practice stands out for its work on property developments, drawing on the expertise of the closely linked construction and engineering practice. Theresa Chong  is a key name for commercial real estate transactions, regularly advising multinational clients; she also has a niche in assisting educational institutions setting up in Malaysia and for hotel operators and owners of hotels. Ashok Kumar Mahadev Ranai and Ivan Loo are experienced construction litigators, who are both highly active as arbitrators. Richard Khoo‘s practice focuses on non-contentious construction and engineering. He has considerable experience advising government-linked companies and developers on infrastructure, commercial and residential developments, and on drafting and negotiating project documents.

Testimonials

‘The team that I work with have a very deep understanding of the dynamics of the different courts. I think the diversity of their background makes their advice well rounded and thoughtful. Especially since navigating government decisions and policies are not easy in this country. ’

‘The team is very responsive to new requests and is able to turn regulatory advice around very quickly and diligently. The team shares updates on progress which is very helpful for client planning purposes.’

‘Very good partner level expertise in key subject matter areas, particularly real estate, construction and corporate. Very responsive and the commercial partners with sector authority are very easy to deal with.’

‘They have a team that support each other and know what the other team members want to say. Truly excellent. ’

‘The Skrine lawyers are able to understand and appreciate the processes and commercial arrangements that regulate the oil and gas industries vis a vis legal requirements. Hence, the solicitor-client relationship is both easy and trusted.’

‘The team has good in-depth knowledge of the industry and gives good options and recommendations on the issues at hand. They are very accessible and respond directly to the client.’

Key clients

Dhaya Maju LTAT Sdn Bhd

River Retreat Sdn Bhd, an indirect subsidiary of Iskandar Investment Berhad

Mudajaya Corporation Berhad

Malaysia Airports Holdings Berhad

Petronas Gas Berhad

MCC Overseas (M) Sdn. Bhd.

Hunza Properties (Gurney) Sdn Bhd, Hunza Properties (Penang) Sdn Bhd, Beachfront Services Sdn Bhd

Deloitte Malaysia

PT B. Braun Pharmaceuticals Indonesia

Healthy Hostel Sdn Bhd

Work highlights

  • Represented Dhaya Maju LTAT Sdn Bhd in two civil suits against the Government of Malaysia, the Minister of Transport Mr Wee Ka Siong, Opus Consultants (M) Sdn Bhd and Keretapi Tanah Melayu Bhd as the Project Director’s Representative.
  • Acted for Malaysia Airports Holdings Berhad, a government-linked public company in a high profile construction dispute initiated by Syarikat Pembinaan Anggerik Sdn Bhd.
  • Acted for River Retreat Sdn Bhd on the sale and purchase of 200 acres of land located in Iskandar Puteri, Johor with Melia Spring Sdn Bhd.

Zain & Co

Zain Azlan Zain Azahari heads the combined real estate and banking practice at Zain & Co, which has handled a strong body of high-value real estate transactions and joint developments, and also advises on real estate development planning. Key areas of work include property acquisitions, sale-and-leaseback, tenancies, leasing and sub-leasing relating to property including estate lands, industrial land, data centres, retail property and hotels and resorts. A core strength lies in advice on structuring and parcelisation strategies relating to large-scale mixed-use developments in Kuala Lumpur.

Practice head(s):

Zain Azlan Zain Azahari

Other key lawyers:

Mariza Azen Mat Rasip

Testimonials

‘The team is easy to communicate with and is quick to provide solutions to any issue brought before them.’

‘Mariza Azen was very knowledgeable and helpful.’

‘Well-versed in property law and very accommodating to the client’s requests, needs and requirements. Always go out of their way to assist. The Team has a diverse conveyance skillset. ’

‘Mariza and Zain Azrin are good conveyance lawyers and always think outside of the box regarding the issues at hand.’

Key clients

PNB Retail Mall Sdn Bhd

Permodalan Nasional Berhad

PNB Commercial Sdn Bhd

Jebsen & Jessen Logistic Services Sdn Bhd.

National Aerated Water Company (Kuala Lumpur) Sdn Bhd.

Employees Provident Fund Board

Work highlights

  • Advised Permodalan Nasional Berhad on the disposal of 144 commercial shoplots/shop-offices.

Zul Rafique & Partners

Zul Rafique & Partners‘ corporate real estate practice group advises on a broad range of transactional work, including property acquisition and divestments, property developments and joint ventures, commercial leasing, property management and financing. The group has a strong offering in leasing, agricultural land and acquisition of retail and commercial real estate for REITs. Leong May Ling advises on joint venture agreements and development rights agreements, acting for developers, investment companies and individuals. She jointly heads the team with Ainal Marlinda Md Said, who focuses on conveyancing, Islamic estate planning and related transactions.

Testimonials

‘I have worked with the partners from ZRP namely Ms. Leong May Ling and Pn. Ainal Marlinda. They possess outstanding knowledge of corporate real estate including housing developers’ projects.’

Not only are they good in giving advice to their clients, they also make sure of the accuracy and quality of their drafting of agreements/letters/documents so that the client’s interests are protected. ’

Key clients

KLCC PROPERTY HOLDINGS BERHAD

SIME DARBY PROPERTY BERHAD

TROPICANA CORPORATION BERHAD

CAPITALAND MALAYSIA MALL TRUST

Core Precious Development Sdn. Bhd.

Senai Airport City Sdn. Bhd.

PNB DEVELOPMENT SDN. BERHAD

TRX CITY SDN. BHD.

HAP SENG CONSOLIDATED BERHAD

GABUNGAN AQRS BERHAD

MEDIA PRIMA BERHAD

MCIS INSURANCE BERHAD

PETRONAS DAGANGAN BERHAD

SP SETIA BERHAD

UEM SUNRISE BERHAD

PR1MA Corporation Malaysia

PUTRAJAYA HOLDINGS BERHAD

Work highlights

  • Advised Sime Darby Brunsfield Resort Sdn. Bhd. in the disposal of nine stratified office lots measuring approximately 102,299 square feet in total area to Sekhar Assets Sdn. Bhd. at the sale consideration of RM85.0 million.
  • Acted for Senai Airport City Sdn. Bhd. in the disposal of three parcels of vacant industrial freehold land.
  • Advised Perangsang Hotel and Properties Sdn. Bhd. in the disposal of a 15 storey hotel building.

Christopher & Lee Ong

Christopher & Lee Ong‘s corporate real estate and construction practice is known in the market for handling large real estate transactions in Malaysia and other ASEAN countries. Advising clients across the industry – including investors, property funds, government-linked corporations, REITs and sovereign funds – the group is active in matters ranging from conveyancing to commercial leasing to property development and financing. Lim Hui Ming, who concentrates on domestic and cross-border real estate agreements for multinational corporations and for individual investors, jointly leads the team with Lee Hock Chye.

Practice head(s):

Lee Hock Chye; Lim Hui Ming

Other key lawyers:

Goh Yau Jun

Key clients

YTL Corporation Berhad

Damansara Realty Berhad

Mohamed Ridza & Co

Mohamed Ridza & Co specialises in conveyancing, advising a range of clients – domestic and international companies as well as individuals – on the sale and purchase of properties, on tenancies, and on the lease of residential and commercial properties. Islamic law-compliant private wealth management is a recent growth area. Mohamed Ridza Abdullah leads the practice with Naseem Mohamed Abdulla, who has experience in REITs and Syariah wealth and estate planning, and with Mohamad Nazran Basirun.

Practice head(s):

Mohamed Ridza Abdullah ; Naseem Binti Mohamed Abdullah; Mohamad Nazran Basirun 

Key clients

Lembaga Tabung Haji

Pegasus Advance Engineering Sdn Bhd

Perbadanan PR1MA Malaysia

I&P Alam Impian Sdn Bhd

Sime Darby Property Berhad

Work highlights

  • Assisted Lembaga Tabung Haji with three asset transfer agreements to transfer its underperforming assets worth RM19.9 billion.
  • Advised I&P Alam Impian Sdn Bhd on the conveyancing works of Phase A3-04 (FLEITA) which includes the preparation of the aale and purchase agreement (Schedule G) of the Housing Development (Control and Licensing) Act 1966 and its Regulations.
  • Assisted PR1MA with the review of its current business module with existing contractors/partners involving PR1MA projects nationwide.

Naqiz & Partners

Shamshul Iskandar Zulkifli heads the real estate and property practice group at Naqiz & Partners. The team works on construction, commercial and conveyancing matters, as well as Islamic finance and transactions. Other key areas of work include property acquisition and divestment, project development, commercial leasing and property financing, as well as drafting and reviewing agreements and contracts.

Practice head(s):

Shamshul Iskandar Zulkifli

Tay & Partners

Chang Hong Yun heads the real estate practice at Tay & Partners, which is recommended for land acquisition, particularly for industrial land, as well as regulatory issues affecting foreign interest and ownership structures. The group also has experience in real estate conveyance, financing, industrial and commercial project development and REITs.

Practice head(s):

Chang Hong Yun

Other key lawyers:

Nicole Leong

Key clients

IKEA Supply AG

Azmi & Associates

Azmi & Associates assists clients with the full range of real estate transactions, including acquisitions and disposals, development and construction, planning advice, financing and dispute resolution. Zuhaidi Mohd Shahari advises on real estate development projects and transactions, while Mohd Sallahudin Abdullah  additionally handles conveyancing and property financing. They jointly manage the department with Lim Sheh Ting.

Key clients

UEM Sunrise Sdn Bhd

TDM Berhad

Gan Partnership

Gan Partnership focuses on engineering and construction, primarily advising government agencies, government-linked companies, developers and contractors. The practice is known for its arbitration, adjudication and litigation arising from a variety of complex construction and infrastructure disputes; group head Foo Joon Liang also co-heads the dispute resolution department and is a highly-regarded arbitrator. Adjudicator Tan Min Lee is another key name here, dealing with both contentious work and the commercial aspects of real estate developments.

Practice head(s):

Foo Joon Liang

Other key lawyers:

Tan Min Lee

Key clients

Asian International Arbitration Centre (AIAC)

Bina Puri Group of Companies

Sunway Group of Companies

Sunsuria Group

Mah Sing Group Berhad

Hap Seng Land Bhd

OSK Properties Bhd

Masenang Sdn Bhd

IWG Group of Companies

Tuck Sin Engineering & Construction Sdn Bhd

TPPT Sdn Bhd

MKH Berhad

Accolade Land Sdn Bhd

Zelan Construction Sdn Bhd

Pinggir Mentari Sdn Bhd

Haute Property Sdn Bhd

Elite Alliance Engineering Sdn Bhd

IGB Group of Companies

Iswarabena Sdn Bhd

BRDB Development Sdn Bhd

Boon Wah Air-Conditioning Engineering Sdn Bhd

Pinggir Mentari Sdn Bhd

Sunshine Construction Sdn Bhd

Elite Alliance Engineering Sdn Bhd

Swee Premix Sdn Bhd

Lee & Koh

The real estate and conveyancing group at Lee & Koh handles a broad range of work, including corporate real estate transactions, development projects, restructuring agreements and project financing, as well as land-related advisory and tenancy and leases. Melynda Lee Mee Yoong focuses on advisory work to property developers, particularly relating to housing developments. She jointly leads the team with Chong Choh Yoon.

Key clients

AmBank (M) Berhad

AmBank Islamic Berhad

CIMB Bank Berhad

EUPE Bangsar South Development (JV) Sdn Bhd

EUPE Corporation Berhad

Gamuda Berhad

Gamudaland Berhad

Gamuda Land (Kemuning) Sdn Bhd

Highpark Development Sdn Bhd

Maybank Berhad

Public Bank Berhad

Reservoir Link Sdn Bhd

Titian Sama Sdn Bhd

West Coast Expressway Sdn Bhd