eOASIS is Rajah & Tann Singapore LLP's legal information website for clients, containing business and legal information prepared from a practitioner's viewpoint. It has four different modules, updated regularly, and materials range from commentaries on the latest legal developments to key legal and business information.
A Guide to Renewable Energy in Southeast Asia
Globally, nations and regulators are rallying their people and businesses to combat climate change. At the most recent 2021 United Nations Climate Conference of the Conference of the Parties ("COP26"), attaining net zero emissions by mid-century was underscored as a key outcome. To achieve this target, there is an urgent need to phase out the use of unabated coal and increase investment in renewable energy ("RE"). The Association of Southeast Asian Nations ("ASEAN") member states have also affirmed their commitment to accelerate decarbonisation and cut emissions at the COP26.
Investment and deployment of RE is a key solution to decarbonisation and achieving the net zero emissions goal. ASEAN countries have taken steps to varying extents and effectiveness for energy diversification, including efforts to deploy RE and develop RE technologies. Each ASEAN country faces its own particular set of challenges and constraints in achieving its net zero emissions goal due to a myriad of factors including its stage of economic development, resources (financial and non-financial) and geographical constraints.
In this Guide, we provide an overview of the RE landscape in the region and certain salient legal and regulatory issues affecting the development and deployment of RE in Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.
Singapore's Regulatory Framework for Sovereign Green Bond Issuance - Key features of Singapore Green Bond Framework
Financing is critical to propel sustainable investments and projects. In this regard, the Monetary Authority of Singapore ("MAS") has developed the Green Finance Action Plan to promote financing for sustainable development. The Singapore Government announced that the public sector intends to issue up to S$35 billion of green bonds by 2030. Proceeds from the public sector green bonds will be used to finance expenditures in support of the Singapore Green Plan 2030, such as green infrastructure projects. The issuance of public sector green bonds is intended to jumpstart corporate green bond issuances, deepen market liquidity for green bonds, and attract green issuers, capital and investors.
In the coming months, MAS (on behalf of the Singapore Government) will be issuing the first sovereign green bond under the Significant Infrastructure Government Loan Act 2021 ("SINGA"). Ahead of this, the Singapore Ministry of Finance published the Singapore Green Bond Framework ("Framework") on 9 June 2022 that sets out a regulatory and governance framework for green bond issuances by the Singapore Government under SINGA.
This Update outlines the salient features of this Framework, which sets out, among other things, how proceeds from green bonds issued may be used, how projects are evaluated and selected, how proceeds are managed, and requirements on post-issuance reporting on allocation of proceeds and impact on the environment.
Scope of Duties in a Family Partnership – Court of Appeal Decides on Breach of Fiduciary Duties and Defence of Laches
There are certain fiduciary duties imposed on the partners of a partnership. Even in the context of a family partnership, where corporate governance practices may be conducted less formally, the courts have demonstrated that the same fiduciary duties continue to apply.
In Ng Lim Lee v Lee Gin Hong  SGCA 47, the Singapore Court of Appeal that the Appellant partner in a family partnership had breached his fiduciary duties by making use of the partnership's assets for his personal expenses, and rejected the defence of laches (which was based on an alleged delay in bringing the claim). In reaching its decision, the Court set out the applicable principles in the doctrine of laches.
The Respondent was successfully represented in this appeal by Harish Kumar and Marissa Zhao of Rajah & Tann Singapore LLP.
MOF Consults on 5 Proposed Amendments to GST Act
On 13 June 2022, the Ministry of Finance ("MOF") commenced a public consultation on five proposed amendments set out in the draft Goods and Services Tax (GST) (Amendment) Bill 2022. The five amendments arise from:
The consultation will run from 13 June 2022 to 4 July 2022. A summary of the main comments received and MOF's responses to the same will be published in August 2022.
- Measures announced in the 2022 Budget Statement (covered in our February 2022 Legal Update titled "Forward, Together: Singapore Budget 2022"), covering:
- The two hikes in GST rates on 1 January 2023 and 1 January 2024;
- The GST treatment of travel arranging services; and .
- A periodic review of Singapore's GST regime to improve GST administration and the clarity of existing legislation.
In this Update, we elaborate on the amendments.
Public Consultation on 23 Proposed Amendments to Income Tax Act
On 8 June 2022, the Ministry of Finance ("MOF") announced a public consultation on 23 proposed amendments to the Income Tax Act 1947 ("ITA"). The amendments are set out in the draft Income Tax (Amendment) Bill ("Draft Bill"), and comprise:
The consultation will run from 8 June 2022 to 6 July 2022. A summary of the main comments received and MOF's responses to the same will be published in August 2022.
- Eight amendments to reflect tax measures announced in the 2022 Budget Statement, including:
- Enhancing the progressivity of personal income tax ("PIT") of tax-resident individual taxpayers, and aligning the tax rates of non-tax-resident individual taxpayers to the revised top marginal PIT rate for tax-resident individuals.
- Facilitating the disclosure of company-related information for official duties.
- 15 amendments arising from the periodic review of Singapore's tax system to revise existing policies, improve tax administration, and enhance the clarity of existing legislation, including:
- Providing expressly that the Comptroller of Income Tax ("Comptroller") has the power to extend filing deadlines in the ITA.
- Amending the definition of "local employee" under section 37O of the ITA to recognise central hiring and secondment arrangements under th e Mergers and Acquisitions (M&A) Scheme.
- Streamlining provisions on the Board of Review ("BOR") and adopting discretionary one-member coram approach for BOR hearings.