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.
What's new on eOASIS
GFIT Handbook for Implementing Environmental Risk Management for Banks, Insurers, Asset Managers
On 28 January 2021, the Green Finance Industry Taskforce issued a handbook titled "Handbook on Implementing Environmental Risk Management" ("Handbook") providing financial institutions ("FIs") with practical implementation guidance and good practices on environmental risk management.
The Handbook complements the three sets of Monetary Authority of Singapore ("MAS") Guidelines on Environmental Risk Management (collectively, "ENRM Guidelines") issued in December 2020. For details on the ENRM Guidelines, refer to our December 2020 Client Update titled "MAS Issues Environmental Risk Management Guidelines for Banks, Insurers and Asset Managers”.
The Handbook applies to the FIs that are subject to the ENRM Guidelines:
- all banks, merchant banks and finance companies;
- insurers (including reinsurers); and
- fund management companies and real estate investment trust managers.
This Update gives an overview of selected key implementation recommendations described in the Handbook, focusing on the following main areas:
- Governance and Strategy to ensure, among other things, board accountability and oversight;
- Proper risk management to entrench environmental and climate-related financial risk in FIs' risk management and decision-making processes; and
- Effective environmental and climate-related financial disclosures.
Guide to Conducting Applications for Moratoria Pursuant to Schemes of Arrangement
The Insolvency, Restructuring and Dissolution Act 2018 ("IRDA") allows a company proposing or intending to propose a scheme of arrangement to its creditors to apply to Court for a moratorium restraining proceedings against the company. The Court may also extend the moratorium on application to cover a subsidiary or holding company.
The Supreme Court of Singapore has issued a Guide for the Conduct of Applications for Moratoria under Sections 64 and 65 of the IRDA ("Guide"), setting out the case management features and specialist practices for such applications. The Guide came into effect on 15 February 2021. This Update summarises and highlights the key features of the Guide.
Budget Speech 2021 – Emerging Stronger Together
After an unprecedented year in which Singapore experienced its worst recession since independence and with the global battle against COVID-19 far from over, Budget Speech 2021 was delivered by Singapore's Deputy Prime Minister (DPM) and Minister for Finance Mr Heng Swee Keat on 16 February 2021. With the theme "Emerging Stronger Together", DPM Heng laid out the following plans to tackle Singapore's immediate challenges:
There were also tax measures and changes announced which were categorised in the following manner:
- The COVID-19 Resilience Package to reopen Singapore safely and sustain the momentum of its recovery;
- The Household Support Package for families, with greater support for families in need;
- Singapore's investments in economic and workforce transformation to emerge stronger; and
- The Singapore Green Plan 2030 to enhance sustainability and deal with climate change.
In this Update, we discuss selected tax measures, changes, enhancements, extensions, and refinements.
- Extending Budget 2020 Temporary Tax Measures to Support Businesses;
- Updating Singapore's Tax Regime as the Digital Economy Grows;
- Maintaining the Competitiveness and Resilience of Singapore's Tax System;
- Emerging Stronger as a Community: Encouraging Philanthropy and Volunteerism;
- Encouraging Early Adoption of Electric Vehicles; and
- Environmental Sustainability.
Sustainability Financing: Taxonomy Proposed for Singapore-based Financial Institutions to Identify "Green" Activities
The Green Finance Industry Taskforce ("GFIT"), convened by the Monetary Authority of Singapore, is conducting a public consultation to seek feedback on the appropriate taxonomy, a classification tool, to help Singapore-based financial institutions identify economic activities that are considered "green" or are transitioning into "greener" activities in sustainability financing. The proposals are set out in the GFIT consultation paper titled "Identifying a Green Taxonomy and Relevant Standards for Singapore and ASEAN". The consultation closes on 11 March 2021.
In particular, GFIT is seeking comments on:
- Whether there is a need for Singapore to have its own taxonomy;
- The four environmental objectives for the taxonomy, namely: (1) climate change mitigation; (2) climate change adaptation; (3) protection of biodiversity; and (4) promotion of resource resilience;
- The selection of the economic sectors that are covered by the taxonomy;
- The proposed "traffic light" classification system for activities within the selected economic sectors by grouping them into three classifications, namely, "green" for activities that are clearly aligned with the environmental objectives of the taxonomy; "yellow" for activities with quantifiable and time-bound pathway towards either green or significant de-carbonisation that will contribute to the objectives of the taxonomy; and "red" for activities that are inconsistent with the environmental objectives of the taxonomy; and
- The treatment of transition activities in the taxonomy.
State of Emergency in Myanmar – Two Weeks On
A one year state of emergency commencing from 1 February 2021 ("Emergency") pursuant to Article 417 of the Myanmar Constitution 2008 has been declared in Myanmar, and the legislative, executive and judicial powers of the country have been transferred to the Commander-in-Chief of Defence Services, Senior General Min Aung Hlaing.
In this article, we provide updates to some of the frequently asked questions regarding the situation on the ground in Myanmar at the time of writing, which has seen significant developments since our initial article of 3 February 2021 on the Emergency. This includes questions on protests, sanctions, border/movement controls, essential utilities and services, and the effect of the Emergency on business contracts.
Wrongful Dismissal Arising from Terminating Employees with Cause – Cautionary Note for Employers
Two recent Singapore High Court decisions are stark reminders that the summary dismissal of an employee can cause serious legal issues for a company if not handled well, and can result in wrongful dismissal claims. This is particularly so if it is unclear whether the employee had conducted himself in such manner as to have repudiated the employment contract or engaged in misconduct, amongst other things. The High Court decisions of Wong Sung Boon v Fuji Xerox Singapore Pte Ltd and another  SGHC 24 and Singapore Recreation Club v Abdul Rashid Mohamed Ali and another  SGHC 156 are examples of summary dismissals gone wrong.
While the employees in these two cases were terminated before the Employment Act ("EA") was expanded in 2019 to apply to all private sector employees, the cases raise important learning points and serve as a helpful reminder on how employers must operate post-2019, in particular in relation to the Section 14 EA due inquiry requirement before an employee may be summarily dismissed for misconduct. This Update provides a brief overview of the events in the two decisions and our comments on employers summarily dismissing an employee post-2019.