On 23rd November 2017, Quanta RegTech Capital (QRC) in collaboration with Infinity Blockchain Labs (IBL) embarked on the Asian leg of its RegTech World Tour in Ho Chin Minh City to acquaint the global community with RegTech. The kick-off event was attended by representatives from varying sectors but principally consisted of those from the corporate and legal sector. The session was allocated to four speakers who spoke about RegTech from different perspectives, all of which are highlighted in this report.
I. WHAT IS REGTECH?
Adam Vaziri, co-founder of Diacle aptly began with a short introduction to RegTech. ‘RegTech’ or regulatory technology, was described as being the use of technology to facilitate compliance in regulated industries. RegTech not only addresses the needs of regulated businesses, but also the needs of regulators or governmental agencies as well.
The advent of FinTech resulted from the acknowledgement of the shortfalls in the traditional risk assessment regime in the financial industry, which was particularly palpable after the 2008 Global Financial Crisis.
Unlike in Fintech, there is no pivotal event where the introduction of RegTech is concerned. However, its introduction is also the consequence of a realisation that the existing systems in regulatory compliance are inadequate and can be much improved.
After receiving the Royal Assent on 9 October 2017, the Law Reform (Marriage and Divorce) (Amendment) Act 2017 still awaits its date of commencement in the Federal Gazette.
Unilateral conversion of minors is not a rare phenomenon in a multi-religious nation like Malaysia. Over the recent years, news regarding the conversion of children to Islam by their converted parent without the consent of the other parent has caught the attention of the public. Although a few high-profile cases were brought before the courts in the past, there is yet a solid solution to this increasingly frequent controversy as of now.
In 2007, Subashini lost the custody of her elder son to her Muslim-convert husband, who converted the child without her knowledge, when the apex court ruled that either party to a marriage has the right to convert a child to Islam. Almost a decade later, S Deepa found herself in a similar predicament, when the Federal Court followed the 2007 landmark decision. The series of unilateral conversion cases, however, did not stop there.
Following the more recent case of Indira Gandhi, the longstanding controversy over the unilateral conversion of minors to Islam finally prompted the government to amend the Law Reform (Marriage and Divorce) Act 1976. Aiming to also settle disputes regarding the legal rights of the both converting and non-converting spouses and the custody of children, Datuk Seri Azalina Othman Said, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, tabled the Law Reform (Marriage and Divorce) (Amendment) Bill 2016 in November 2016. With five amendments and two new provisions, the long-anticipated bill is undoubtedly a breakthrough in the Malaysian family law.
Professor Emeritus Datuk Dr Shad Saleem Faruqi is the holder of the Tunku Abdul Rahman Foundation Chair
I. CONCEPT OF A LEGAL SYSTEM
A legal system refers to the overall legal regime of a country. It provides institutions, principles, rules and methods for regulating the relationship between law and society. It describes law’s connection with authority and with morality.
It describes the sources from which the law springs. It provides the procedures and methods for making law and resolving disputes. It encompasses the institutions, principles and procedures for the exercise of power and the limits thereon. It includes a set of laws and the manner in which the laws are interpreted and enforced.
It outlines the rights, responsibilities, and duties of citizens towards each other and towards the state. It provides for the imposition of punishments.
It provides for the classification of laws into various categories (civil law and criminal law, public law and private law, procedural law and substantive law, the law of tort and law of contract) and the differences and similarities between these categories.
Over the millennium, the world has known many types of legal systems. The oldest were built on custom and religion. In modern times, it is believed that there are six primary categories of legal systems; civil law systems, common law systems, religious systems, customary systems and supranational systems, and mixtures of the five. The choice of one or the other is affected by history, politics, and social traditions.
LexTech Conference 2017 is a regional legal conference gathering Southeast Asia's leading legal technology futurists.
News about the rise of revolutionary and industry-changing legal technologies (“Lextech”) have swept the globe and rightfully caused a great deal of unease among members of the legal profession in Malaysia. On the 4th and 5th of November, current and future members of the legal profession and regional leaders in the Lextech industry converged in Cyberjaya for the Lextech Conference 2017, titled ‘The Future of Law’, co-organised by CanLaw and Brickfield Asia College.
Many came to the conference looking for answers, which the panel of esteemed, experienced, and accomplished speakers tried their best to provide. A broad array of topics, ranging from Lextech, Blockchain, Smart Contracts, Artificial Intelligence, and the future of the legal industry were discussed in depth.
This article aims to give a detailed overview of the 5 key areas of discussion during the event.
On the 20th of December 2016, the Federal Court in Putrajaya reversed the decisions of both the Court of Appeal and High Court of Sibu in the case of Director of Forest, Sarawak & Anor v TR Sandah & Ors. The appellant in the case was the State Government while the Respondents were the Ibans and natives of Sarawak. The respondents claimed Native Customary Rights (NCR) over 5,639 hectares of land which the Respondents and their ancestors inherited by virtue of the Iban custom of pemakai menoa and pulau galau. The subordinate courts initially granted the Respondents NCR over the claimed area of land in Kanowit-Ngemah, Sarawak before the Federal Court reversed the decision and deprived the natives of their NCR.
This commentary aims to simplify and analyse the judgment made in the Federal Court regarding the TR Sandah case and its impact onto the natives of Sarawak’s rights to land.
After receiving Royal Assent on 10 May 2017, the Bankruptcy (Amendment) Act 2017 came into force in Malaysia on 6 October 2017
The new Bankruptcy (Amendment) Act 2017, which came into force on 6th October 2017, has renamed the existing Bankruptcy Act 1967  as the ‘Insolvency Act 1967’. The new Act will bring about significant changes to the law and, along with these, possible uncertain ramifications.
In general, the changes provide increased protection for individual debtors, by allowing them more opportunities to restructure repayment of their debts. The increased protections are a response to the worrying trend of significant increases in the number of reported bankruptcy cases.
One of the underlying objectives sought to be achieved is to create a society (comprised as it is of debtors and creditors) which is more financially literate on the issue of debt repayment.
The Panel of Judges was headed by Danial Feierstein (left) in deliberating the trial. (Source: Bernama)
Religious superiority has long been one of the bases for the marginalisation and persecution of ethnic minorities. For the very same reason, the sufferings of the Muslim community in Myanmar continue to be a long, dark abyss towards annihilation. Their cries, although widely heard and reported by international media and agencies, do not change the fact that they remained oppressed by the Myanmar extremist Buddhist government. It does not help that the supposed beacon of hope, hiding behind her Nobel Peace Prize, is now the icon of hypocrisy and irony.
As the Muslim minorities’ identities are being diluted in the country’s diverse social fabric, efforts to obliterate their physical presence have manifested in nefarious acts of abuse and violence against men, women and children alike. Among the execution strategies adopted by the state of Myanmar towards its marginalised include; mass razing of homes and villages, forced evacuation, murder and rape, all of which have been commented upon by the United Nations as “a textbook example of ethnic cleansing”.
Despite facing years of condemnation and massive criticisms by the international community, the Myanmar government is resolute in its standing of innocence; an outright lie to the face of justice. Even so, the Permanent Peoples’ Tribunal attempted to shine some light at the end of the tunnel for the Muslim minority community in a trial held at the Faculty of Law, University of Malaya. The trial lasted from 18th to 22nd September 2017.
Based on currently available information, Malaysia and North Korea’s diplomatic ties spanning four decades was gravely damaged when Kim Jong Nam, the estranged brother of Kim Jong-un was assassinated at KLIA on 13th February 2017. Tensions between the two countries escalated when the North Korea ambassador, Kang Chol, criticized the handling of the case by Malaysian authorities, even going as far as to accuse Malaysia of being untrustworthy and colluding with other nations to defame North Korea. 
As a result, he was declared a persona non grata—likely the first of which has ever happened to a diplomat stationed in Malaysia—and therefore, expelled from the country. Persona non grata, which is provided for in Article 9 of the Vienna Convention of Diplomatic Relations 1961, an international convention to which both Malaysia and North Korea are parties to, allows a receiving state to “notify the sending State that the head of the mission or any member of the diplomatic staff of the mission ... is not acceptable.” At which point, “the sending State shall, as appropriate, either recall the person concerned or terminate his functions with the mission.” If the sending State refuses or fails within a reasonable period to carry out its obligations to recall the person, the receiving State may “refuse to recognize the person concerned as a member of the mission.” 
In other words, the foreign diplomat would no longer be welcomed in the receiving state, nor would they continue to enjoy diplomatic immunity under the Vienna Convention. Declaring a diplomatic staff as persona non grata could be considered to be one of the harshest diplomatic measures a state can take against another state.
Not surprisingly, North Korea retaliated by similarly declaring Malaysia’s ambassador, Mohamad Nizan Mohammad, a persona non grata. Soon after, North Korea decided to impose a travel restriction on Malaysians who are in their country, from leaving North Korea. In retaliation, Malaysia has decided to do the same shortly after the decision was made to North Koreans who are currently in this country.
The Malaysian Prime Minister, Najib Razak, in announcing the retaliatory travel ban, released a statement stating that North Korea’s act of holding Malaysian citizens as “hostages”  is in “total disregard of all international law and diplomatic norms.”  However, this begs the question, is the decision to ban foreign citizens from leaving one's country (be it North Korea or Malaysia) a breach of human rights and/or in compliance with international law?
This article aims to study the relevant treaties under international law with regards to the travel ban and to determine if any breach of international law was committed by both Malaysia and North Korea.
After a long wait, the much-anticipated Companies Act 2016 has finally come into force on 31st January 2017 replacing the 1965 Act, which has been around for more than half a century. Incorporating new provisions and amendments, the whole Act has overhauled its content from a 374 sections’ Act to a 620 one.
This article aims to give a broad overview of the differences between the old act and the new act and its implications.
In the critically acclaimed book ‘The World Without Us’, readers were asked to envision our Earth, if all humans were to disappear tomorrow. In breathtakingly detailed paragraphs, the author explained how our massive infrastructures would collapse, the ozone layer would replenish, ultraviolet levels subside and flora and fauna would reclaim the earth– a “paradise”. In his closing, author Alan Weisman writes; “Without us, Earth will abide and endure; without her, however, we could not even be.”
To Malaysia’s credit, issues regarding the environment have, in the past years, been an agenda close to the heart of our judiciary, especially of our Chief Justice, Tun Arifin Zakaria. Since his appointment as Chief Justice of Malaysia in 2011, he has been active in furthering the environmental cause both nationally and regionally.
Under his leadership, Malaysia’s judiciary has seen heartening initiatives such as the establishment of two environmental courts, active participation in regional judicial commitments such as the ‘Jakarta Common Vision’ and increased training and education for the members of our Judiciary to implement such commitments.
In his speech at the Opening of the Legal Year 2017, he brought his activism one step further when he recommended that the Federal Constitution be amended to include a right to a clean and healthy environment. The Chief Justice praised as ‘generous and accurate’ the landmark Court of Appeal judgment of Datuk Seri Gopal Sri Ram in the 1996 case of Tan Tek Seng v Suruhanjaya Perkhidmatan Pendidikan which stated that the right to live in a reasonably healthy and pollution free environment is implicit in Article 5 of the Federal Constitution, which guarantees the right to life.
This article aims to look at the status quo of Environmental Law in Malaysia, access our progress in the area according to established yardsticks such as the Environmental Democracy Index and identify areas for improvement with suitable recommendations.